Tiny Desk

Sean Rowe

Download Audio

Sean Rowe: Tiny Desk Concert

On paper, Sean Rowe's music should be the stuff of ineffectual self-parody: He is, after all, a bearded guy who sings acoustic folk-rock songs, complete with themes revolving around humanity's relationship to nature. But this is big, bold, muscular stuff — a closer relative of Man vs. Wild than the nearest coffeehouse. When Colin Meloy's beard is cornered in a dark alley, it summons the assistance of Sean Rowe's beard.

We didn't exactly have to crane our necks to hear Rowe — he's got a voice built for bellowing into canyons — but he came packing a succession of ever-louder acoustic-guitar set-ups just in case. A native of rural New York, Rowe devotes his off hours to wilderness survival and what he calls "primitive living." But if he ever made the move to his home state's biggest city, he'd be nicely equipped to busk in the subways: He's got enough presence and volume to drown out local trains and noisy wildlife alike.

We recently asked Rowe — whose name, incidentally, rhymes with "how" — to play a few songs from his recent album Magic at the NPR Music offices. As you can see here, he happily obliged, even tossing in a story about survivalism that renewed our collective faith in indoor living.

Set List
  • "Night"
  • "Bluegrass Baby"
  • "Surprise"
Credits

Michael Katzif (cameras); edited by Bob Boilen; audio by Kevin Wait/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Concert with Mitski Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Mitski

Mitski's music is dark and even scary, but glimmers of beauty peek through.

Gabrielle Smith performs as Eskimeaux at a Tiny Desk Concert on July 14, 2015. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Tiny Desk

Eskimeaux

There's lighthearted, almost childlike beauty in the way Gabrielle Smith puts words to song.

Tiny Desk Concert with Caroline Rose. Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Caroline Rose

Rose plays music as if she's just met her new best friend: It's fresh, fun and enthusiastic.

Tiny Desk Concert with Son Lux Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Son Lux

The trio blows up its sound by adding off-duty, civilian horn players from the U.S. Marine Band.

Tiny Desk Concert with Kacey Musgraves Lydia Thompson /NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson /NPR

Tiny Desk

Kacey Musgraves

The country singer plays four songs from Pageant Material, plus the set-closing "Follow Your Arrow."

Tiny Desk Concert with Restorations Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Restorations

The Philly rock band's big-hearted songs are stripped down to a few guitars and a MiniKorg.

Tiny Desk concert with Torres Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

Torres

Mackenzie Scott's music channels Patti Smith and PJ Harvey while hinting at further growth.

Tiny Desk Concert with SOAK. Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lydia Thompson/NPR

Tiny Desk

SOAK

Irish singer-songwriter Bridie Monds-Watson makes the most of a single voice and an acoustic guitar.

Tiny Desk Concert with Shamir Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Shamir

The singer's disco-infused funk and soul gets stripped down to a lone voice with a guitar.

Back To Top