Tiny Desk

Damien Jurado

Download Audio

Damien Jurado: Tiny Desk Concert

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

Tiny Desk Concert with Zac Sokolow (left), Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Frank Fairfield

A young man with an old musical soul has a spellbinding voice and fluid fiddle playing.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Young Fathers

Intense, hip-hop-infused poetry is reduced to just the essentials in this two-song, four-minute set.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Camané

A star in his native Portugal, Camané evokes melancholy with a silky baritone and elegant phrasing.

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Bellows

These are enchanting songs, with the power to drift in your head for days.

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Eskmo

Found objects are percussion instruments in the hands of a man who's part musician, part magician.

Vijay Iyer Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 20, 2015. Olivia Merrion/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Olivia Merrion/NPR

Tiny Desk

Vijay Iyer Trio

Iyer's working band transforms selections from throughout the pianist's deep and varied catalog.

Tiny Desk Concert with José González. NPR hide caption

itoggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

José González

This soft-spoken Swedish singer left an imprint at the Tiny Desk that was gentle and long lasting.

Back To Top