Tiny Desk

The Both

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16 min 13 sec

Singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are often at opposite ends of the volume knob. But what started as separate sets during a mutual tour, then a few walk-ons during Leo's solo set, is now an adventure in collaboration and mutual songwriting — and the birth of The Both. Months after this Tiny Desk Concert, which we recorded in February, there's an album. For the announcement of that record, Leo said, "The writing process has largely been long-distance, but it's been line by line, verse by verse, part by part; we'll send each other something and go back and forth until it's finished."

When they showed up to play together at the Tiny Desk, there was a lot of uncertainty and a sense of adventure. The performances weren't about perfection so much as inspiration, with Mann rocking a bit more and Leo hunting for subtlety in his guitar playing. It wasn't compromise, though, so much as a creative challenge that's unfolding during this set — one of their earliest public performances of these songs. It's fascinating to watch them sing in uncharted territory.

Set List

  • "You Can't Help Me Now"
  • "Milwaukee"
  • "No Sir"
  • "The Gambler"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion, Meredith Rizzo; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR

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