Natalie Merchant: Tiny Desk Concert The singer-songwriter gives a warmhearted performance of two new songs, an old favorite and a hymn.

Tiny Desk

Natalie Merchant

In the summer of 2014, Natalie Merchant came to Washington, D.C., to perform her first album of all-new material in 13 years. She was supposed to play here at my desk the day after that evening's performance. Instead, she fell ill, wound up in a D.C. hospital, and canceled her upcoming dates.

Now, Merchant has rerecorded her first solo album Tigerlily, complete with strings and different instrumentation. That album is called Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings, and she recently came back to town to make a documentary film about that record. And so it was with abundant joy that Natalie Merchant finally made it to the NPR Music offices. This was truly one of the most warmhearted Tiny Desk performances I've ever seen. She sang the title track from 2001's Motherland, "Texas" from that self-titled 2014 release and something from Tigerlily, and then Merchant had the NPR audience join her for a beautiful hymn heard on The House Carpenter's Daughter — so have a tissue handy.

Paradise Is There: The New Tigerlily Recordings is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • "Motherland"
  • "Texas"
  • "Cowboy Romance"
  • "Weeping Pilgrim"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Walker, Julia Reihs, Nick Michael; Production Assistant: Kate Drozynski; photo by Jun Tsuboike/NPR

For more Tiny Desk Concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

J.S. Ondara performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 5, 2019. Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

J.S. Ondara

After first trying to win our annual Tiny Desk Contest, the singer-songwriter from Nairobi decided to put out a record, got nominated for a Grammy and wound up here anyway.

Max Richter performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 21, 2019. Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Max Richter

The eclectic composer joins members of the ACME ensemble for some of his most affecting music, which moves the audience to tears.

Wale performs a Tiny Desk concert on Oct. 30, 2019. Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Wale

The Washington D.C. rapper gives a charismatic performance full of humor, heart and plenty grooves, for the Tiny Desk Fest.

Yola Carter performs during tiny desk on December, 12, 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Yola

The singer who once sang for Massive Attack and sampled by Iggy Azalea and The Chemical Brothers, is front-and-center at the Tiny Desk.

Joyce DiDonato performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Nov. 11, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Joyce DiDonato

Watch the celebrated opera star deconstruct old Italian love songs with her signature flair, backed by a crack jazz ensemble.

Jordan Rakei performs during Tiny Desk on Nov. 15 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jordan Rakei

Despite some unexpected gear problems, the soulful R&B artist and his band locked-in and played a phenomenal set behind the Tiny Desk.

Brownout performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 18, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR

Brownout

The Austin, Texas band brought old-school R&B horns, bongos and deep grooves to the Tiny Desk.

Bridget Kibbey performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Bridget Kibbey

The irrepressible harpist proves that the instrument can be as tempestuous as a tango, as complex as a Bach fugue and sing as serenely as a church choir.

Jon Batiste performs during Tiny Desk on November, 8 2019. (Photo by Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste's Tiny Desk Concert was published prematurely. The new publication date is March 2020.

Daniel Norgren performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sep. 25, 2019. (Catie Dull/NPR) Catie Dull/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Catie Dull/NPR

Daniel Norgren

The Swedish singer sways and writhes as he and his band create a dream state calming enough to slow the day's hectic pace to a crawl. Take a seat on a comfy couch and have a listen.

Back To Top