Watch Conor Oberst Play His New Record Live In New York City At Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, Conor Oberst delivered a powerfully spare set of new songs from his new album, Ruminations.

Front Row

Watch Conor Oberst Play His New Record Live In New York City

Ruminations is one of Conor Oberst's most personal records — and it was a surprise, even for its creator. He didn't intend to make an album — he was trying to recover from exhaustion after he was rattled by a health scare, a cyst on his brain. But when he left New York, N.Y., and moved back to his hometown of Omaha, Neb., the songs started coming. He recorded Ruminations on piano, guitar and harmonica in 48 hours during the winter after he moved home. The result is a collection of brave, dark songs that confront Oberst's thoughts during that time head-on. (For all concerned, he's now doing fine.)

Housing Works Bookstore in New York is a place that's meant a lot to Oberst over the years. It's a book shop with a mission to help the homeless and those with AIDS and HIV. He was at the very first performance at Housing Works nearly a dozen years ago, and he's played there a few times as well — including one Halloween show where he dressed as a skeleton. So on the day he released Ruminations, it was fitting that he return to Housing Works to perform all the songs from that album — some of them for the first time.

For this performance Oberst is largely seated at a piano, a harmonica strapped around his neck. His bassist, MiWi La Lupa, lays a small foundation for songs that they're still learning to play, but that are unmistakably moving and contain some of Oberst's best lyrics and imagery.

SET LIST

  • "Tachycardia"
  • "Gossamer Thin"
  • "Barbary Coast (Later)"
  • "Counting Sheep"
  • "Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)"
  • "Next of Kin"
  • "The Rain Follows the Plow"
  • "A Little Uncanny"
  • "You All Loved Him Once"
  • "Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out"

CREDITS

Producers: Bob Boilen, Saidah Blount, Colin Marshall, Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Director: Colin Marshall; Editor: Nicole Conflenti; Concert Videographers: Nicole Conflenti, Nickolai Hammar, Cameron Robert; Photographer: Ebru Yildiz for NPR; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Rita Houston.

[+] read more[-] less

More From All Songs TV

Andrew Bird Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

First Watch: Andrew Bird Is Bloodless

Andrew Bird sings, "it's an uncivil war bloodless for now / and the poets they explode like bombs." Watch Andrew Bird peer into our distracted culture precisely when it needs our attention.

JS Ondara's debut album Tales of America is out Feb. 1 on Verve Forecast. Josh Cheuse/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Josh Cheuse/Courtesy of the artist

The 'American Dream' Through The Kenyan Eyes Of J.S. Ondara

J.S. Ondara's "American Dream" video follows a delusional man on his journey to purchase a weapon.

Steve Hassett and Zoe Randell of Luluc Charlotte de Mezamat/Courtesy of the artistr hide caption

toggle caption Charlotte de Mezamat/Courtesy of the artistr

Luluc's 'Kids' Is An Ode To Restless Youth

The Australian duo's video and song, "Kids," is an anthem for teens trying to find their place in the world.

Rising Appalachia Chad Hess/Courtesy of the Artist hide caption

toggle caption Chad Hess/Courtesy of the Artist

Rising Appalachia Write A 'Resilient' Anthem

The sister duo's song and dance-filled video is an uplifting and life-affirming ballad for challenging times.

Back To Top