English folk and folk rock music has been seeing a new revival of late, with artists such as Alasdair Roberts, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, and Sam Lee bringing new take to a genre which has seen several incarnations since artists such as Shirley Collins and Martin Carthy, and bands such as Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, and Pentangle melded it into the modern world in the 1960s. One of the latest artists to stake her spot in the genre, Olivia Chaney, released her debut album The Longest River at the end of April. She came to Jammin’ Java on Thursday night, bringing her own mix of traditional, original, and cover songs.
Chaney’s music on the album is often sparse and haunting, and her solo performance (sometimes accompanied by violinist Jordan Hunt) served the music well. Switching ably between acoustic and electric guitars, piano, and harmonium to fit the mood of each song, the classically-trained singer held the small but enthusiastic audience in rapt attention. Highlights of the show included a cover of Alasdair Roberts’ “Waxwing” (repeated with a somewhat different arrangement in the encore), Chilean singer Violeta Parra’s “La Jardinera,” and Chaney’s own Joni Mitchell-esque “Imperfections.”
Shannon Carey of the band Luray opened the show with a solo set, debuting a new banjo made by local luthier Scott Morgan. Along with tracks from her first album The Wilder, she also debuted new songs from the album that the band is currently working on recording.
All photos by Matt Condon. Click to embiggen.