Adam Torres: Tiny Desk Concert The Austin singer-songwriter showcases his high, lonesome voice and atmospheric storytelling in three songs — one unreleased and one from his gorgeous new album, Pearls To Swine.

Tiny Desk

Adam Torres

Adam Torres' voice makes Pearls To Swine a constant listen for me. It's high and lonesome, but more frail than the voices of the bluegrass pioneers who defined that sound, like Ralph Stanley. Besides, Torres isn't a country singer or a folksinger so much as an atmospheric storyteller.

It took the musician, now based in Austin but frequently on tour, just a week to record Pearls To Swine, though the album was nearly 10 years in the making. In 2006, Torres was 20 and living in Athens, Ohio, when he put out a debut record called Nostra Nova, which is worthy of cult status. Then his life took a non-musical course.

I first heard his music far more recently, through another Austin musician and Tiny Desk alum (with Shearwater back in 2008), Thor Harris of Swans. I ran into Harris, he raved about this new singer he was touring with, and I heard Pearls To Swine and flipped. I've been writing about Adam Torres a bunch this year, and the more I listen, the more I want to share it.

Listen in particular to the way Torres and Aisha Burns weave his voice and her violin together. It's rare and beautiful. Then there's the delicate percussion and bass that keep it all in motion. In addition to songs from his current record, we also get to hear an unreleased track, appropriately titled "I Came To Sing The Song." I'm thrilled he did.

Pearls To Swine is available now (iTunes) (Amazon).

Set List

  • "High Lonesome"
  • "Outlands"
  • "I Came To Sing The Song"

Musicians

Adam Torres (vocals, guitar); Aisha Burns (violin); Thor Harris (percussion); Dailey Toliver (bass, keys)

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Nicole Boliaux; Editor: Nicole Boliaux; Production Assistant: Anna Marketti; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Mandolin Orange plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 21, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Mandolin Orange

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz made everything seem so easy, with just a few acoustic instruments and a single microphone behind the Tiny Desk, performing songs full of joy and thoughtfulness.

Nicole Bus plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 8, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Nicole Bus

Nicole Bus' sound is reminiscent of vintage R&B, yet still feels current and capable of transcending age and demographics.

Tobe Nwigwe plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 27, 2019 (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Tobe Nwigwe

The Houston-based rapper's mindful words are like a life hack for anyone seeking guidance, with pleas to look past inherent hardships and evil and to stay focused on life's ultimate prizes.

Kian Soltani plays a Tiny Desk Concert on March 8, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Kian Soltani

Watch a young cellist on the rise, offering music of virtuosity, sweet lyricism and a little fire from his Persian roots.

half•alive plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 21, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

half•alive

How does half•alive, known for funky earworms and synchronized dancing, translate to such a cozy space? Have the dancers sit.

Among Authors plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 20, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Among Authors

Among Authors' music isn't casual; there are songs within these songs, and they're not always catchy. They'll take you on a journey worth following.

Ty Dolla $ign pays tribute to Mac Miller at the Tiny Desk (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Ty Dolla $ign Pays Tribute To Mac Miller At The Tiny Desk

While Ty Dolla $ign visited NPR to record his own Tiny Desk concert, he also performed a special tribute to his friend, the late Mac Miller.

David Crosby and The Lighthouse Band performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 29, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

David Crosby & The Lighthouse Band

David Crosby, Becca Stevens, Michelle Willis and Michael League are The Lighthouse Band, and together they harmonized the heck out of the Tiny Desk.

Bas plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 15, 2019 . Amir Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amir Alfiky/NPR

Bas

Bas came to the Tiny Desk to get it, and — in a breathless four-song set — he did exactly that.

iLe plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 23, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

iLe

The Calle 13 veteran, fresh off her appearance at demonstrations in Puerto Rico, performs three songs that rage with revolutionary intensity.

Back To Top