Jesca Hoop last appeared at the Tiny Desk as a duet with Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) in the spring of 2016. They sang songs from their collaborative record Love Letters For Fire. This time around, Jesca Hoop came to the Tiny Desk with just her guitars, her lovely voice, and brilliant poetic songs. She has a magical way with words, and she opened her set with "Pegasi," a beautiful song about the wild ride that is love, from her 2017 album Memories Are Now.
The two songs that follow are from her latest album, Stonechild, the album that captured my heart in 2019, and the reason I reached out to invite her to perform at my desk. "All Time Low" is a song, she says, for the "existential underdog."
"Michael on the outside, always looking in
A dog in the fight but his dog never wins
If he works that much harder, his ship might come in
He gives it the old heave-ho."
And for her final tune, she plays my favorite song from Stonechild, "Shoulder Charge." It's a song that features a word that Jesca stumbled upon online: "sonder," which you won't find in the dictionary. She tells the NPR crowd "sonder" is the realization "that every person that you come across is living a life as rich and complex as your own." And that realization takes you out of the center of things, something that is at the heart of "Shoulder Charge" and quite a potent moment in this deeply reflective and personal Tiny Desk concert.
- "All Time Low"
- "Shoulder Charge"
Jesca Hoop: vocals, guitar
Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineers: Josh Rogosin, Alex Drewenskus; Videographers: Maia Stern, Melany Rochester; Editor: Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Shanti Hands; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Kisha Ravi/NPR