Tiny Desk

Chris Thile And Michael Daves

Download Audio

Chris Thile And Michael Daves: Tiny Desk Concert

Chris Thile and Michael Daves drove their modest rental car into the NPR parking lot, at which point Daves grabbed his guitar and Thile grabbed his mandolin. "I've never traveled this light before," Thile said. In fact, the first time I met him, Thile was on a tour bus larger in length than the NPR music offices.

Back then, he was touring with his childhood bandmates in Nickel Creek. On this day, he and Daves are out on the road honoring the music of Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and other early bluegrass greats. What stands out between these two musicians when they play traditional music — as you'll see and hear during this Tiny Desk Concert — is the level of extremity they achieve. This is small-town music with New York City intensity.

Daves and Thile met in New York during a midweek jam session at the now-closed Baggot Inn in the West Village. Daves is a jazz lover who grew up playing bluegrass in Atlanta, but the first jams the two made together took them down musical roads neither had traveled. Eventually, they took their project to Jack White's Third Man Records studios, first only to record a 45. But, as it turned out, the pair recorded more than 20 tunes, with 16 making it onto a recent full-length album called Sleep With One Eye Open. Watch those fingers!

Set List
  • "Sleep With One Eye Open"
  • "Rabbit In The Log"
  • "Bury Me Beneath The Willow"
  • "Billy In The Lowground"
  • "It Takes One To Know One"
  • "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms"
Credits

Michael Katzif (cameras); edited by Julian Boilen; audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Michael Katzif

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Concert with Paul Weller. Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Paul Weller

See the beloved Britpop veteran perform songs from his new album, Saturns Pattern.

Tiny Desk Concert with Kate Tempest. Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Kate Tempest

A celebrated English playwright and rapper deploys storytelling and poetry.

Tiny Desk Concert with Songhoy Blue Lani Milton /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton /NPR

Tiny Desk

Songhoy Blues

See a Malian band that fuses African music with Western rock.

Tiny Desk Concert with Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad of Girlpool. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Girlpool

The charming duo performs three of the simple, direct songs from Before The World Was Big.

Tiny Desk Concert with Christopher Paul Stelling. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Christopher Paul Stelling

Best witnessed live, Stelling's music is steeped in tradition yet filled with vitality and soul.

Tiny Desk Concert with And The Kids. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

And The Kids

The trio's music is full of life, with dissonant sounds that still feel suited for singalongs.

Tiny Desk Concert with Oddisee Colin Marshall/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Colin Marshall/NPR

Tiny Desk

Oddisee

The charismatic Brooklyn-via-D.C.-area rapper creates just the right amount of space in his music.

Tiny Desk Concert with Hop Along. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Hop Along

Frances Quinlan's raspy voice whispers one moment, then lets loose a gut-punching howl the next.

Tiny Desk Concert with Timothy Showalter, songwriter and producer of Strand of Oaks. Maggie Starbard /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard /NPR

Tiny Desk

Strand Of Oaks

Timothy Showalter's music is filled with bite and sometimes regret, but also a good deal of warmth.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Prettiots. Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Prettiots

The clever trio shares its love of everything from Law & Order to old-school girl groups.

Back To Top