Tiny Desk

Black Prairie

Download Audio

11 min 7 sec

The charming roots-folk band Black Prairie got its start as an outlet for The Decemberists' Chris Funk and Nate Query, who wanted an outlet for some of their rootsy, mostly instrumental string-band wanderings. As the new group expanded to incorporate more members — including another wayward Decemberist, Jenny Conlee, on accordion — its sound has grown as well, with Annalisa Tornfelt's sweetly countrified vocals and violin lending Black Prairie's songs an added dimension.

As if to flesh out The Decemberists' more stripped-down Tiny Desk appearance from 2011 — only guitarist Chris Funk performed at both shows — Black Prairie played richly layered versions of three cuts from last year's A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart. Like so much great folk music, there's a marvelous blend of darkness and light at work here, as the band lends a snappy, lilting quality to songs of alienation and darkness.

Set List
  • "Dirty River Stomp"
  • "Nowhere Massachusetts"
  • "Richard Manuel"
Credits

Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks, Lauren Rock; photo by Ryan Smith/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

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

Camané

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

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Bellows

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

Morgan McCloy/NPR

Tiny Desk

Eskmo

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.

Colin Marshall /NPR

Tiny Desk

DakhaBrakha

The Ukrainian acoustic quartet's music encompasses sounds and rhythms from around the world.

Carlos Waters/NPR

Tiny Desk

Jessie Ware

The young English singer brings warmth to electronic music and a swooning quality to her own pop.

Back To Top