Amy Grant: Tiny Desk Concert Amy Grant maps her fabulous, four-decade career with some of her coziest and heartfelt Christmas songs, not to mention a delightful version of "Jingle Bells."

Tiny Desk

Amy Grant

Growing up in the '90s, there was never a Christmas without Amy Grant's music. Home for Christmas, in particular, was a favorite around our household, its string-swept nostalgia wrapped around the family den like a warm blanket and a plate of cookies. So when I invited the Nashville pop singer to perform our annual holiday Tiny Desk, I had to bring my mom.

You could almost map Grant's fabulous four-decade career by those Christmas records (four in total, five if you count her reading of Jimmy Webb's The Animals' Christmas with Art Garfunkel). In them, you not only hear an artist progress — from '80s synth-pop to lush string arrangements to a contemporary Nashville sound — but as a person, as her own feelings and faith surrounding the season evolve with a mixture of melancholy and cheer.

"As I've gotten older, sometimes I've realized the bravest thing you can do at Christmas is go home," she tells the Tiny Desk audience after performing "To Be Together," from 2016's cozy, yet lived-in Tennessee Christmas. "Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is open the door and welcome everybody back."

And that's when it all comes home for Amy Grant. "Tennessee Christmas," written 35 years ago, takes on new meaning here — this was the first time she's performed the song since her father died this year. You see her eyes glisten, and her voice catch on the final "tender Tennessee Christmas," everyone feeling that wistful tenderness and offering some back in return.

To shake out her sadness, Grant dons reindeer antlers (generously provided by someone at NPR because of course someone at NPR keeps festive wear on hand) and dashes through a delightful version of "Jingle Bells." Happiest of holidays from all of us at NPR Music!

Tennessee Christmas is available now.

Set List

  • "To Be Together"
  • "Tennessee Christmas"
  • "Jingle Bells"

Credits

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

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Foxing plays at the Tiny Desk on May 1, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Foxing

Foxing is at the forefront of an emo revival, heavily influenced by late-'90s and early 2000s groups like Sunny Day Real Estate and American Football.

Sesame Street plays a Tiny Desk concert on May 10, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Sesame Street

Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Grover, Rosita, Count von Count, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster and other surprise guests gather at NPR's headquarters to celebrate 50 years of love, learning and joy.

Tomberlin performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on April 23, 2019 (Emily Bogle/NPR) Emily Bogle/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Emily Bogle/NPR

Tomberlin

Tomberlin is the daughter of a Baptist pastor, grew up singing in the church and, since her teens, has questioned her own beliefs in God and faith. Her songs are delicate and vulnerable.

Quinn Christopherson performs a Tiny Desk Contest on May 28, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Quinn Christopherson

Quinn and his musical partner, guitarist and singer Nick Carpenter, arrived from the cool of Anchorage to the swelter of D.C. and performed with remarkable confidence and grace.

LADAMA performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 11, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

LADAMA

The group unites sounds from Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, with a dash of New York City thrown in.

Lucky Daye performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 25, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Lucky Daye

Hailing from New Orleans with a love of sticky, bass-bumping funk, Lucky brought along a 10-person band, including a quartet of horns, to capture the full flavor of his debut album Painted.

Jeremy Dutcher performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 22, 2019 (Michael Zamora/NPR). Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Jeremy Dutcher

There is no one making music like this 27-year-old, classically trained opera tenor and pianist. Watch and see why.

Ensemble Signal performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 25, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Ensemble Signal Plays Jonny Greenwood

Watch members of the New York-based group give the world premiere video performances of two recent pieces by Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood.

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider perform a Tiny Desk Concert on March 6, 2019. Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider

Watch what happens when the smoky-voiced jazz singer from Mexico conspires with an adventuresome string quartet for songs steeped in Latin American traditions.

Ohmme performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on April 18, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR) Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Ohmme

These classically trained artists fill the NPR Music offices with shrieking, rhythmic noise that redefines what an electric guitar can do.

Back To Top