Boygenius: Tiny Desk Concert Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers are all Tiny Desk alumae, but here they play together at NPR for the first time as boygenius, one of this year's best surprises.

Tiny Desk

Boygenius

The group is new, but all of the members of boygeniusJulien Baker, Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers — are Tiny Desk Concert alumae. In fact, Julien has been behind my desk twice before. So when the usual nerve-racking session was over and I shouted out, "So, is it any easier the second or third time?" I had to laugh when I got a resounding "No!" from all of them. The notion of playing in broad daylight, in an office, without having your voice coming out of a PA and with an audience close enough to touch is not only intensely intimate but also intimidating. That's not only true to these three, newly collaborating, under-25-year-olds. It was also true of, say, Ralph Stanley (who was older than their ages combined) when he sang a cappella behind my desk.

But what came through as these three heartfelt singers performed was the strength of their songs. My first attraction to each of them as artists was the songwriting. In fact, the title track to Julien Baker's first album, Sprained Ankle, is what got me to a show of hers early in 2016, which introduced me to the opening act, Lucy Dacus. (You can hear them tell their tale on an upcoming All Songs Considered.) Boygenius only has six total tunes, all from their just-released, self-titled EP, and here they perform half of that catalog. What you get at the Tiny Desk is a frailer version of these more fleshed-out songs from a band that is likely quite temporary.

For their closing tune at the Tiny Desk, "Ketchum, ID," Julien, Phoebe and Lucy each take a verse. Lucy's verse ends the song with the line, "Let's dissolve the band, move to Idaho." And the chorus to the song, in stunning harmony, echoes the mileage of the lifestyle, how they live and how they met: "I am never anywhere / Anywhere I go / When I'm home I'm never there / Long enough to know."

This trio is a special gift to us all in 2018.

Set List

  • "Souvenir"
  • "Me & My Dog"
  • "Ketchum, ID"

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, Kaylee Domzalski, Beck Harlan; Editor: Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Cameron Pollack/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Scott Mulvahill performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 30, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Scott Mulvahill

Scott Mulvahill has been trying to win the Tiny Desk Contest for each of its four years. And while he's never won, we all loved him so much we had to invite him to play.

Mountain Man performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 23, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Mountain Man

The voices of Amelia Meath, Molly Erin Sarlé and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig come together behind the Tiny Desk, with songs that conjure a simpler life: dogs, friends, moonlight or skinny dipping.

Lau Noah performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 10, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Lau Noah

There's a magical aura that surrounds Lau Noah as she sits behind the Tiny Desk and unspools thought-provoking story-songs.

Cat Power performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 17, 2018 (Jenna Sterner/NPR). Jenna Sterner/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jenna Sterner/NPR

Cat Power

Chan Marshall and her band perform a brisk and beautifully orchestrated medley of Cat Power songs: "Wanderer," "Woman" and 2006's "The Moon."

Blood Orange performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 10, 2018 (Heeather Kim/NPR). Heather Kim/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Heather Kim/NPR

Blood Orange

This Blood Orange Tiny Desk is a beautifully conceived concert showing off the craft and care that has made Devonté Hynes a groundbreaking producer and songwriter.

Stella Donnelly performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Oct. 22, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR/Cameron Pollack/NPR

Stella Donnelly

Watch the Australian singer-songwriter perform three new songs from her upcoming full-length debut, Beware of the Dogs.

Nate Wood "fOUR" performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2018. Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Nate Wood - fOUR

The multi-instrumentalist says he only wishes he had more limbs; but Wood still manages to simultaneously play a bass guitar, keys and drums, all while singing into a wearable microphone.

Aaron Lee Tasjan performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 12, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Aaron Lee Tasjan arrived in an ascot and mustard-colored shirt, sporting red, round sunglasses and mutton chops. It was a fashionable nod to the psych-pop and rock sound he brought to the Tiny Desk.

Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 3, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR)/ Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen

Carolina Eyck, the first artist to bring a theremin to the Tiny Desk, plays the air with the kind of lyrical phrasing and "fingered" articulation that takes a special kind of virtuosity.

Buddy performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 4, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR). Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Buddy

The preacher's son from Compton brought his flair for the dramatic, and an air of rebellion, to the Tiny Desk.

Back To Top