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

Delicate Steve performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 3, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Delicate Steve

This fierce and lyrical guitar player writes playful instrumental music led by hooky vocals — but there is no voice, just the human-like twang of a glass slide on a guitar.

Sampha performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 7, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Sampha

A Tiny Desk Concert as intimate as it gets (that's saying something). Just Sampha, a piano and three heart-wrenching songs that seem to double as coping mechanisms.

Red Baraat performs at Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 8, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tiny Desk Special Edition: Red Baraat's Holi Celebration

The Brooklyn bhangra band come to the Tiny Desk in celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of color that welcomes the coming of spring.

Tank And The Bangas perform perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Mar. 6, 2017. (Niki Walker/NPR) Niki Walker/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Niki Walker/NPR

Tiny Desk

Tank And The Bangas

Tank And The Bangas' victory lap around the Tiny Desk was momentous and deeply touching.

Maren Morris performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 16, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Maren Morris

One of the newest Grammy winners stops by the Tiny Desk to share her winking, sometimes tongue-in-cheek songs.

Ninet Tayeb performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 14, 2017. (Marian Carrasquero/NPR) Marian Carrasquero/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Marian Carrasquero/NPR

Tiny Desk

Ninet

One of Israel's most popular performers may fully win over fans of hard-playing rock.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Feb. 23, 2017. (Claire Harbage/NPR) Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Tiny Desk

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band brought their euphoric horns to the Tiny Desk for a raucous, joyous set.

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.

Back To Top