Tiny Desk

Laura Gibson Plays Tiny Desk Concert No. 200

We call her the Typhoid Mary of the Tiny Desk.

Singer-songwriter Laura Gibson served as the inspiration and guinea pig for the Tiny Desk Concerts back in the spring of 2008, after Bob Boilen and I witnessed her struggle to be heard over the din of a yappy crowd at SXSW. I suggested to Bob that we'd be better off asking her to play a concert at his desk rather than straining to hear her at a bar, so we waited around after the show and suggested the notion to Gibson. It felt like an imposition, but she lept at the idea — and noted that she'd be in Washington, D.C., in three weeks.

The solo performance we captured was spare and gorgeous, and the series evolved quickly, from quiet singer-songwriters (Gibson, Vic Chesnutt, Sam Phillips) to the noisier likes of Tom Jones, Chuck Brown and The Avett Brothers. As of this writing, we've recorded more than 200 Tiny Desk Concerts. Bob's desk, in addition to being a place where he works and distracts his colleagues with scatterbrained shenanigans, now sits under professional video lighting; while my desk houses a menagerie of wind-up robots and drinking birds, Bob's permanently houses a microphone that's worth more than my car. (Three hundred dollars!)

The whole time the series has been going on, Laura Gibson has been making gorgeous music. We've been blown away by the albums she's released in the past few years — Beasts of Seasons and this year's La Grande — which build on her sonic palette without sacrificing the intimacy of her fragile, whispery voice. So who could be better to help us celebrate Tiny Desk Concert No. 200? Other musicians, like Nels Cline and Marketa Irglova, have played the desk once as a headliner and once as a collaborator. But Laura Gibson, the Typhoid Mary of our labor of love, had to be the first to headline twice.

Set List:
  • "Feather Lungs"
  • "La Grande"
  • "Milk-Heavy, Pollen-Eyed"
  • "The Rushing Dark"
Personnel:
  • Brian Perez - Vocals, Percussion
  • Matthew Berger - Drums
  • Johanna Kunin - Vocals, Piano, Flute
  • Jill Coykendall - Clarinet
Credits:

Producers: Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson; editor and videographer: Michael Katzif; audio engineer: Kevin Wait; photo by Doriane Raiman/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Little Simz performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Little Simz

Little Simz has been compared to Lauryn Hill for her self-reflective wordplay. And though the British lyricist is a relative new-comer, her Tiny Desk performance was poised and confident.

Agnes Obel performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 9, 2016. (Raquel Zaldivar/NPR) Raquel Zaldivar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Raquel Zaldivar/NPR

Tiny Desk

Agnes Obel

Agnes Obel brings the Tiny Desk three alluring and powerful songs.

Esme Patterson performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 1, 2017. (NPR) NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Esmé Patterson

Esmé Patterson has dropped the banjos and folk from her previous project Paper Bird, and in their place are electric guitars and a backing band worth getting behind.

Run the Jewels perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 12, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Run The Jewels

Killer Mike and El-P continue to out-muse each other in a supergroup that somehow seems to get better, louder, and more pertinent since their start in 2013.

Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ben Folds

Performing solo, Folds performs three songs from his new album and two old favorites.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chelsea Wolfe. Ariel Zambelich/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ariel Zambelich/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chelsea Wolfe

Wolfe takes three songs from the metallic Abyss and makes them howl by their lonesome.

Tiny Desk Concert with Car Seat Headrest. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Car Seat Headrest

Will Toledo is a wordsmith with a vision, as well as a DIY sound that's still finely crafted.

Tiny Desk Concert with EL VY. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

EL VY

The National's Matt Berninger and Menomena's Brent Knopf team up in an intimate setting.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Arcs. Jessica Mowery/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jessica Mowery/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Arcs

It's our 500th show at the Tiny Desk, featuring The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and his new band.

Tiny Desk Concert with Wolf Alice. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiny Desk

Wolf Alice

The band's music can be noisy and primal, but at the Tiny Desk it showed a different side.

Back To Top