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"

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 Youth Lagoon Jun Tsuboike/NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Youth Lagoon

Trevor Powers' new songs are expansive and self-assured, a transition reflected in this performance.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Wild Reeds Julia Reihs/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Julia Reihs/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Wild Reeds

Great singers aren't easy to come by, so finding three in one band is something special.

Tiny Desk Concert with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Julia Reihs/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Julia Reihs/NPR

Tiny Desk

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

At the Tiny Desk, Rateliff's body-shaking Southern-style soul takes on a more laid-back sound.

Jun Tsuboike/NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

Rahim AlHaj

The oud player's wordless music tells powerful stories about life's blessedness and fragility.

Tiny Desk Concert with Aurora Hadas /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Hadas /NPR

Tiny Desk


At 19 and on the cusp of her first album, the Norwegian singer performs with a sense of discovery.

Tiny Desk Concert with My Bubba Jun Tsuboike/NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

My Bubba

My Bubba is a duo of women whose quirky, delicate, sweetly sung folk songs are a delight.

Tiny Desk Concert with Chris and Morgane Stapleton Lani Milton/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Lani Milton/NPR

Tiny Desk

Chris Stapleton

With his wife Morgane, the country singer-songwriter sings patient, detailed songs of devotion.

Tiny Desk Concert with Diane Coffee. Jun Tsuboike/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jun Tsuboike/NPR

Tiny Desk

Diane Coffee

Conjuring David Bowie, Diane Coffee's Shaun Fleming swaggered and shimmied behind the Tiny Desk.

Tiny Desk Concert with The Suffers NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Tiny Desk

The Suffers

The 10-piece band can barely fit all its horns, guitars, percussion and energy behind one desk.

Tiny Desk Concert with Beauty Pill Julia Reihs/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Julia Reihs/NPR

Tiny Desk

Beauty Pill

In Beauty Pill, life whirs with plunderphonic glee and riffs are funky from the inside out.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor