Jeremy Messersmith: Tiny Desk Concert With his horn-rimmed glasses and esoteric subject matter, Messersmith is no rock star. But he's a pop genius, with creative ambition to match his songs' considerable charm.

Tiny Desk

Jeremy Messersmith

Jeremy Messersmith: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/140506044/140595190" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

It's sort of astonishing that more people don't know about the sweetly effervescent pop of Jeremy Messersmith. Sure, the Twin Cities singer-songwriter's latest album, The Reluctant Graveyard, is a song cycle about death, and at his Tiny Desk Concert, he trots out a Star Wars-themed "Tatooine," which he says is "for the nerds." But, really, this guy is for everyone — his charming, timeless songs are just radiant, beautifully sung and beautifully played.

Messersmith didn't take his appearance in the NPR Music offices lightly: He enlisted a full band, complete with strings, to bring these songs (however ironically) to luscious life, and he picked short selections in an effort to maximize the impression he'd leave behind. We don't do many five-song Tiny Desk Concerts, but Messersmith's finely rendered, exquisitely infectious material warrants the moments of added attention. With his horn-rimmed glasses and esoteric subject matter, Jeremy Messersmith is no rock star. But he's a pop genius, with creative ambition to match his songs' considerable charm.

Set List

  • "Toussaint Grey, First In Life And Death"
  • "Knots"
  • "Violet"
  • "A Girl, A Boy, And A Graveyard"
  • "Tatooine"

Credits

Filmed and edited by Michael Katzif; audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Emily Bogle/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Igor Levit performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 15, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Igor Levit

The insightful pianist offers a Beethoven bonanza, ranging from the mesmerizing pulse of the popular "Moonlight" Sonata to flashes of wry humor and tender beauty.

Snarky Puppy performs during a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 12, 2019. Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Snarky Puppy

The jazz, funk and gospel improv group brought jams and joy to the Tiny Desk.

Burna Boy performs during a Tiny Desk concert on Sept. 16, 2019. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Burna Boy

The Nigerian singer and songwriter is one of the biggest African artists in the world and a pioneer of Afro-fusion, an inescapable sound this year.

Kokoko! performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 1, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

KOKOKO!

KOKOKO! are sonic warriors. They seized control of the Tiny Desk, shouting their arrival through a megaphone, while electronic sirens begin to blare.

Sunny War Laura/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura/NPR

Sunny War

Sunny War has been homeless, busked on city streets and Venice Beach, left home feeling she was a burden to her mother, battled addiction and still found a way to bring joy to others thru her music.

Leslie Odom Jr. plays a Tiny Desk Concert Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ben de la Cruz/NPR

Leslie Odom Jr.

The Tony- and Grammy-winning singer, actor, author and Hamilton star performs three songs from Mr, his genre-bending new solo album.

Dave plays a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR (Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltran Villamizar/NPR

Dave

The British rapper made a trip all the way from the UK just for this Tiny Desk performance and powered through a set that made the personal political.

BJ the Chicago Kid performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 3, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

BJ The Chicago Kid

The 34-year old R&B mainstay used his moment at the desk to fit in as many of his most cherished songs as possible — Nine songs in 17 minutes to be exact.

Rio Mira plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Rio Mira

Rio Mira's music celebrates life along the river that separates Ecuador and Colombia: soft breezes, loving friends, the embrace of Africa and lots of festejando!

Chai plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

CHAI

The group from Japan is on a mission to expand the conventional meaning of "cute." Their performance included synchronized dancing, pom-poms and matching pink uniforms, with a heavy, angular sound.

Back To Top