Damien Jurado: Tiny Desk Concert Jurado has spent the last decade churning out albums of raw, time-worn, authentically graceful music, and he's always possessed a seemingly innate gift for capturing the intricacies of human behavior. Watch him perform his songs in the NPR Music office.

Tiny Desk

Damien Jurado

Damien Jurado: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134056035/134090882" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

We've recorded more than 120 concerts at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, featuring artists ranging from the queen of Malian desert rock to the godfather of go-go music to a master of the Colombian jazz harp to freaking Tom Jones. They've come in virtually every configuration, but it's hard to match the simplicity and intimacy of a singer with an acoustic guitar in that space — there's no hiding, no faking, no frills.

A few days ago, our own Mike Katzif took a break from editing the video he'd shot of Damien Jurado at the Tiny Desk, and he walked over to my workspace to marvel at the footage. "Sometimes," Mike said, "there's just nothing like a big dude playing sad songs." We agreed that this one is special: Jurado has spent the last decade churning out albums of raw, time-worn, authentically graceful music, and he's always possessed a seemingly innate gift for capturing the intricacies of human behavior. The guy once released a record, Postcards and Audio Letters, which contains no songs — just wrenchingly intimate messages he'd found left on old thrift-store tape recorders — and it plays like a mission statement for his music, like the movie for which he'd been providing a soundtrack all along.

Though Jurado throws in a fantastic unreleased song here ("Newspaper Gown"), this material comes from a 2010 album called Saint Bartlett. And, as marvelous as these pieces sound in their official form, it's hard to top how they come off at the Tiny Desk — it's just a big dude playing sad songs, his eyes pinched shut as if to make it easier to be alone with the music, but the performance is perfect the way it is.

Set List
  • "Cloudy Shoes"
  • "Newspaper Gown"
  • "Arkansas"
  • "Beacon Hill"
Credit

Filmed and edited by Michael Katzif; photo by Abby Verbosky

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

ALA.NI performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 20, 2017. (Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR/NRR

Tiny Desk

ALA.NI

ALA.NI captures and conveys a reverent love of early-20th-century music, while injecting those sounds with charisma and charm well suited for any era.

Maggie Rogers performs a Tiny Desk concert at NPR headquarters. Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Maggie Rogers

The rising pop star performs three of her best-known songs, including a sweet solo take on her career-making "Alaska."

Aldous Harding performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 6, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Aldous Harding

Intensity in songs often expresses itself as volume – a loud guitar, a scream, a piercing synth line. But in the case of Aldous Harding it's in the spaces, the pauses, and her unique delivery.

James Mercer of The Shins performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 19, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Shins

James Mercer, the emotional and creative heart of The Shins, gives a moving performance at the Tiny Desk, with two new songs and a classic from the band's 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow.

Albin Lee Meldau performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 12, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Albin Lee Meldau

Albin Lee Meldau possesses a thunderous, deeply affecting voice, which he uses to tell some utterly dark, but demonstrably cathartic, tales.

Rare Essence performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 9, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Rare Essence

Rare Essence has been bringing go-go to the world since 1976 — the group brought that pedigree, and the genre's massive meld of funk, rhythm and blues and soul, to this raucous hometown Tiny Desk.

Tuxedo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on May 20th, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tuxedo

Tuxedo, the unlikely-on-paper funk-soul duo of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One, brought a left-of-center sonic approach and a sharp sense of style to their Tiny Desk Concert.

Fragile Rock performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 16, 2017. (Photo: Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Fragile Rock

Fragile Rock is a band that relies on the boogie of The B-52s, the melancholy of The Smiths and the humor of Kermit the Frog. Oh, and they're all puppets.

Jay Som performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 7, 2017. (Liam James Doyle/NPR) Liam James Doyle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Liam James Doyle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jay Som

Melina Duterte may have played all the instruments on Jay Som's newest record, Everybody Works, but her touring band brought a rougher edge to those silky recordings.

Chance The Rapper performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 5, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chance The Rapper

Chance The Rapper, fresh from a 23,000-strong, sold-out show the night before, brought a thoughtful and fresh take to his Tiny Desk concert.

Back To Top