Frank Turner writes folk songs that harness the fury of punk and the majesty of Springsteenian rock 'n' roll. But more than anything else, his music is playful: There's conversational wit and bite to Turner's music, even as he's bellowing to the back rows. His songs lose little when you strip away electric instruments and leave the entertainment value to a single skinny, tattooed guy with an acoustic guitar.
For his Tiny Desk close-up, the U.K. singer-songwriter isn't actually alone: He brings along Matt Nasir, the pianist in Turner's band, The Sleeping Souls. Nasir joins in on mandolin, but Turner still does plenty to convey the bawdy rowdiness of a full band on his own. Opening with the terrifically anthemic, rehab-themed first single from his new album, Tape Deck Heart, (sample line: "On the first night we met, you said, 'Well, darling, let's make a deal/If anybody ever asks us, let's just tell them that we met in jail' "), Turner shines in what may well be the most brightly lit performance space he's ever graced.
- "The Way I Tend To Be"
Producer: Stephen Thompson; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Parker Blohm, Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Hayley Bartels/NPR