Tiny Desk

Chris Bathgate

Download Audio

Chris Bathgate: Tiny Desk Concert

Dusky and deliberate, Chris Bathgate's music can be foreboding, even funereal. But the Michigan native invests his songs with warm, rustic beauty — aided by strings, slide guitars and other instruments of emotional devastation — that makes everything too pretty to function as a true downer. A bunch of us at NPR Music fell in love with Bathgate's gorgeous 2007 song "Serpentine," so we'd been looking forward to having him in for a Tiny Desk Concert, but a follow-up to that record took an agonizing four years. (Given that he describes his song "No Silver" as "about living in Michigan and being broke," maybe he was just saving up for the studio time?)

Bathgate didn't cut any corners in his Tiny Desk Concert this past summer, lugging in his full band to perform four songs from this year's fine Salt Year — he even had a friend bring pie to pass around in a successful attempt to curry our favor. The efforts to flesh out his sound paid off: Alternating brooding ballads ("Everything [Overture]," "Salt Year") with more assertive midtempo rockers ("No Silver," "Levee"), Bathgate and his band crafted a winningly moody and frequently exquisite sound — a marvelous showcase for an unassuming Midwesterner who deserves more attention than he gets.

Set List
  • "Everything (Overture)"
  • "No Silver"
  • "Salt Year"
  • "Levee"

Michael Katzif (cameras); edited by Bob Boilen; audio by Michael Katzif and Kevin Wait; photo by Tucker Walsh/NPR

[+] 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


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

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk


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

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk


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