The Innocence Mission: Tiny Desk Concert The Innocence Mission, ever the most careful cultivators of quiet, encouraged us to come closer, to discover the "thing beautiful enough" in the moment it's delivered.

Tiny Desk

The Innocence Mission

Some days, you can hear a go-go band revving up the party or a pianist busting the keys wide open, luring NPR staff to the Tiny Desk. But in the hushed performances, your ears need to lean into the sound so that your entire being can take in every fingerpick of string and each hummed melody. The Innocence Mission, ever the most careful cultivators of quiet, encouraged us to come closer, to discover the "thing beautiful enough" in the moment it's delivered.

The trio — now three decades into its existence — bookends this performance with two songs from 2018's Sun on the Square. "Green Bus" and "Light of Winter" thread the long and winding needle of Karen Peris' evocative words with her husband Don Peris' decorative-but-nuanced guitar and Mike Bitts' deft bass lines. In some of my favorite lyrics of the year, Karen Peris tangles the tender and the tempestuous:

And what could I bring you,
now in the meantime?
Fruit from the sunlight,
quartz from the bay?
And where will I find this,
perfect and wondrous?
I look into shops,
I slip into rain.

Between those newer songs, The Innocence Mission plays "Tomorrow on the Runway," the opening cut from 2003's Befriended, which Iron & Wine recently covered in Stephanie Laing's film Irreplaceable You. Nursing a small cold, Peris' voice slightly breaks when she sings, "Did you still leave the darkness without me? You're always miles ahead" — but the humbling effect, however unintended, lingers in your being.

Set List

  • "Green Bus"
  • "Tomorrow on the Runway"
  • "Light of Winter"

Credits

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

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Charly Bliss plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Charly Bliss

The vibrancy of the band can feel childlike and candy-coated. But the group's songs are more about the pain of entering adulthood and leaving some of that sweetness behind.

Sharon Van Etten performs during a Tiny Desk concert, on Sept. 23, 2019. (Mhari Shaw/NPR) Mhari Shaw/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Mhari Shaw/NPR

Sharon Van Etten

Nearly a decade after her first appearance at the Tiny Desk, Sharon Van Etten returns with a full band and a bigger, bolder sound.

Molly Sarlé plays a Tiny Desk Concert. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Molly Sarlé

After performing at the Tiny Desk as one third of the group Mountain Man, Molly Sarlé returns for a soul-stirring solo performance.

The Jonas Brothers play a Tiny Desk Concert on August 15, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Jonas Brothers

The brothers and their backing band gave a playful performance of three tracks from their latest album, Happiness Begins.

Josh Ritter (center) performs with Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell at a Tiny Desk Concert on Aug. 27, 2019. (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Josh Ritter With Amanda Shires And Jason Isbell

In his second visit to the Tiny Desk, Josh Ritter had America on his mind. "We all have to fight against this notion that we're not all human beings."

Ari Lennox plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Ben de la Cruz/NPR). Ben de la Cruz/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Ben de la Cruz/NPR

Ari Lennox

The R&B singer performed songs from her debut full-length, Shea Butter Baby.

Rosanne Cash plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Rosanne Cash

Roseanne Cash has been making great records for forty years, but she's never played or written better music than she's doing right now.

Y La Bamba plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Y La Bamba

Y La Bamba returns for its second Tiny Desk performance with a revised musical vision.

Nilüfer Yanya plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Nilüfer Yanya

There's a hush to the music of Nilüfer Yanya that made the Tiny Desk the perfect stage for her sound.

Rhiannon Giddens plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 17, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Rhiannon Giddens

Giddens shares songs from her latest album, There is No Other, in an emotional and transfixing performance at the Tiny Desk.

Back To Top