Tiny Desk

The Polyphonic Spree

Download Audio

10 min 38 sec

This year marks the 10th anniversary for The Polyphonic Spree's annual holiday music show — an extravaganza the group has held in Dallas each December — and it's celebrating with a live tour and a new CD called Holidaydream, on which the band reworks versions of classics such as "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "White Christmas."

Last week, The Polyphonic Spree's members rolled up to NPR in their packed-to-the-gills bus and unloaded a small army of horn players, singers and assorted gear for the largest Tiny Desk performance we've ever hosted. The band members spent much of the day getting ready for the three-song set, puzzling out the logistics of getting that many people behind Bob Boilen's desk. But, they said, it's a "human Tetris game" they've played many times before, and by the early afternoon they were ready to go.

While many of the large groups we host at the Tiny Desk often opt for stripped-down performances, what you see here with The Polyphonic Spree is pretty close to the band's full-on production, with a horn section, cellist, guitars and drums — and, of course, the full group of singers, led by the wonderfully effusive Tim DeLaughter.

For this special holiday Tiny Desk performance, The Polyphonic Spree treated the NPR Music office to two traditional carols — "The Christmas Song" and "Silver Bells" — and the more modern John Lennon classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

Set List
  • "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
  • "The Christmas Song"
  • "Silver Bells"
Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Mito Habe-Evans, Christopher Parks, Ryan Smith; photo by Lauren Rock/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

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.

Tiny Desk Concert with Anna & Elizabeth. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anna & Elizabeth

If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, breathe deep and soak it all in.

TK Morgan McCloy/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Genevieve

See a singer with a powerful voice and extremely encouraging message.

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.

Tiny Desk Concert with Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis. Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jason Vieaux And Yolanda Kondonassis

Watch the Grammy-winning guitarist and acclaimed harpist play music influenced by Africa and Asia.

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.

Back To Top