Chaney’s ‘Long­est River’ flows with dis­tinc­tive beauty

Los Angeles Times - - POP MUSIC - RAN­DALL ROBERTS POP MU­SIC CRITIC ran­dall.roberts@latimes.com

Olivia Chaney

“The Long­est River”

(Nonesuch)

Onits sur­face, the de­but al­bum from the Bri­tish folk singer Chaney, re­leased in April, is a sim­ple af­fair. Fea­tur­ing her grace­ful hand-picked acous­tic guitar and pi­ano work and a small back­ing band of strings and bass, “The Long­est River” high­lights an artist with a voice in har­mony with rich tra­di­tions and ea­ger to add her own pure-toned phrased ac­cents. Be­low the sur­face, though, lay grim com­pli­ca­tions.

At her Los An­ge­les de­but at the Ho­tel Cafe last year, Chaney teased songs from “The Long­est River.” Joni Mitchell’s ear­li­est records were one ob­vi­ous touch­stone, as was the work of Sandy Denny-era Fair­port Con­ven­tion. Those are easy com­par­isons and threaten to di­min­ish her record’s dis­tinc­tive beauty. One high­light was her cover of Scot­tish folk singer Alas­dair Roberts, “Waxwing,” an ex­quis­ite, poetic ex­plo­ration of na­ture in­cluded on the new record.

Ryan Adams

“Live at Carnegie Hall”

(Pax Am/Blue Note)

With a sub­tle ease that be­lied his bull-in-a-china-shop en­trance onto the song­writ­ing scene in the 1990s, the en­dur­ing song writer Adams has penned enough res­o­nant gems to earn not only a live al­bum but one at Carnegie Hall. A few years ago the skep­tic in me would have dis­missed such an Adams en­deavor as the ul­ti­mate artis­tic hum­ble-brag, but I’ve ac­cepted his quirks. In the liner notes, he writes of tak­ing the sub­way to and from the gigs like he’s play­ing for a few friends, but that’s OK. The songs, cho­sen from per­for­mances over two brisk au­tumn nights, don’t lie.

Stand­ing be­fore the mi­cro­phone alone, wear­ing jeans and a jean jacket and ac­com­pa­nied only by his sparse guitar work, Adams on the record­ing presents his mourn­ful ode “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” his apolo­getic “My Wreck­ing Ball,” al­bum closer “Come Pick Me Up,” his New York City kow­tow, “New York, New York.” Each sounds cru­cial in its own way. Songs writ­ten a fewyears back feel like ’70s coun­try clas­sics. In fact, so does the whole of the record, in a time­less kind of way.

Luis Sinco Los An­ge­les Times

RYAN ADAMS, above at the Coachella fes­ti­val in April, is sparse yet ap­peal­ing in his “Carnegie Hall” al­bum recorded live.

Ellen Nolan Nonesuch

OLIVIA CHANEY’S de­but al­bum only seems sim­ple.

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