Grateful for Tiny Music

Music.  Kind of obvious, right?  Would anyone not be grateful for having music in their lives?  If this is you, my guess is you are in a serious minority.  Enjoy your uniqueness.  Shortly after waking up this morning I found myself listening to music.  My not-so-regular check in with one of my favorite music spots.  NPR.  That’s for old people, right?  Wrong.  Bob Boilen at NPR Music (@NPRMusic) has made a fun habit of putting together concerts in…wait for it…the NPR Music office!  He calls them Tiny Desk Concerts.  Admit it, we’d all be better off in the cube farms across America if we could do the same.

This isn’t your typical everyday operation.  It has been going on for years. It dates back to April 2008 in video record with Laura (not Debbie) Gibson as the first guest.  And diverse!  Everything from folk to rock to gospel to rap to instrumental.  He picks stuff he thinks is good, invites them in to perform 3-4 song sets and records them with little editing.  Here are a just a few that I have taken to over the years (you’ll notice an acoustic theme as well as an improvement in NPR’s sharing capabilities):

The Avett Brothers (from 2008) – early years from the local near-Charlotte-based band.

K’Naan – (from 2009) – technically the first ever rapper on the show.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela (from 2009) – amazing guitar duo.

Local Natives (from 2011) – good acoustic set from a solid band.

The Decemberists (from 2011) – one of my favorite bands…hope to see them live some day.

Trombone Shorty (from 2011) – fun trombone player and what seems like his friends jamming out fun songs with trombone as lead.

Alt-J (from 2012) – a band I have really taken to in the past year – unique sound, unique vocals and surprisingly good for running on tempo days.

Typhoon (from 2013) – lots of bandmembers centered around a guitar player with a big voice.  Cloud Cult-like.

Daughter (from 2013) – this band has captured me a bit over this holiday season.

And these were only a few…so much more from such a tiny desk…The 3rd song on the Jeremy Messersmith 2011 set is one of my all time favorite songs, the first song from The Other Lives set in 2011 is also quite mesmerizing.

Bottom line, there are so many great ways to get music.  I’m finding my favorites are where the music is recorded live and up close with the performers.  Facebook performances, Live from The Basement and live radio station sessions like KEXP and KBCO provide some other great means to enjoy great live performances.   I’m grateful for them all and the speakers throughout my house that play these great sounds.

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