Christopher Paul Stelling: Tiny Desk Concert Best witnessed live, Stelling's music is steeped in tradition yet filled with vitality, immediacy and soul — all the reasons worth discovering someone new.

Tiny Desk

Christopher Paul Stelling

Christopher Paul Stelling: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/419257346/420548897" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

After spending time with Christopher Paul Stelling's third album, Labor Against Waste, I expected a certain intensity to his performance. But I didn't expect him to nearly implode behind my desk, as the fierceness of his heartfelt songs was set against deft fingerpicking on his beat-to-hell '64 Gibson gut-string classical guitar. That guitar, bought in Asheville, looks like a well-worn friend, with its dark bruised wood and his initials hand-carved into its body. Stelling marked the instrument a year after he bought it, when he made New York City his home in 2007.

By the time he played "Horse," his third song at the Tiny Desk, Stelling seemed overtaken by the song he wrote. Watch him lean in as if he's about to lunge, his eyes bugged out, sometimes rolled back in his head revealing just the whites, skin blood-red, voice like a preacher on fire. His music feels undeniable: Best witnessed live, it's steeped in tradition yet filled with vitality, immediacy and soul — all the reasons worth discovering someone new.

Set List

  • "Castle"
  • "Scarecrow"
  • "Horse"
  • "Warm Enemy"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Editor: Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Maggie Starbard, Colin Marshall; Assistant Producer: Morgan McCloy; photo by Morgan McCloy/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

KEM plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

KEM (Home) Concert

The R&B veteran performs three songs from his latest album for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Adrianne Lenker plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Adrianne Lenker (Home) Concert

The leader of Big Thief performs five songs from a camper in Joshua Tree for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Owen Pallett performs a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Owen Pallett (Home) Concert

The talented Canadian composer and songwriter creates an ensemble in their bedroom for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Michael Kiwanuka plays a Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Michael Kiwanuka (Home) Concert

The 2020 Mercury Prize winner performs five songs in a London flat for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Copland House plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Copland House (Home) Concert

A trio of musicians gather at Aaron Copland's longtime home. Watch them play the iconic American composer's music at his own piano and beside his own writing desk.

Tigran Hamasyan plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tigran Hamasyan (Home) Concert

The award-winning pianist performs three solo songs from his home in Armenia.

Shirley Collins plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Shirley Collins (Home) Concert

British folk singer Shirley Collins is a living legend. Watch her perform five songs for her Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Mickey Guyton plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Mickey Guyton (Home) Concert

Country music's breakout star of 2020 performs three songs for her Tiny Desk quarantine concert, including "Black Like Me."

Tiana Major9 plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tiana Major9 (Home) Concert

The ascending R&B talent brings us into her South London home for a four-song quarantine concert.

Polo G plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Polo G (Home) Concert

The platinum-certified Chicago-born emcee performs three songs on a basketball court for his Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Back To Top