What I’m Listening to: Lavinia Ross and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts

Every morning while I’m going through my emails and other correspondence, I listen to music via YouTube, which provides me with a variety that can only be called astonishing. This morning music both grounds and energizes me. It helps prepare me for my fiction writing, an arduous but satisfying  wrestle with words and story. (Silence is always required for my fiction writing.)

Lately, I have become especially taken with National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concerts—“Intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.” The Tiny Desk Concerts feature music for all kinds of tastes. What a gift!

Here are a few of the many video performances I listen to on a regular basis.

First, there is this joyful, luminous performance by Coldplay and the absolutely amazing For Love Choir. I listen to and watch this almost every day. Much needed during these grim times. I can’t be the only who “wants to party like it’s 1999.”

For a walk on the weirder yet strangely compelling side, you can’t beat Sylvan Esso, a cross between the German band Kraftwerk and the American band Blondie. You might notice this video has been labeled a “tiny desk Home concert.” During this time of the pandemic, it’s part of a new series recorded in musicians’ homes. I’m impressed by the quality of the sound. Very impressed.

Time for a change of pace with Death Cab For Cutie. My daughter Dee introduced me to this soulful, melancholy group led by Ben Gibbard.

I’ve saved the best for last, not a tiny desk concert. Instead, a CD—Keepsake—from my blogging friend Lavinia Ross of Salmon Brook Farms.

Here is how Lavinia describes Keepsake: “[I]t is quiet peaceful folk music. Four songs are mine, four are Kate Wolf covers, one Bob Dylan cover and one James Taylor cover….Guitar playing is mine except for the fretless bass (Jim Lamontagne), and the last song, a Bob Dylan one called ‘Tomorrow is a Long Time.’ ”

Lavinia does most of the singing—her husband Rick does sing one song. Holy cats, what a voice she has! Last night Clif and I were listening to Keepsake, and he said, “Lavinia’s singing reminds me of Aimee Mann.” Yes.

In a lovely case of serendipity, Lavinia features a couple of “tiny farm concert” videos on her website. Here is one featuring the song “Weary Stranger.”

I could have shared so many wonderful music videos.

What are you listening to?

45 thoughts on “What I’m Listening to: Lavinia Ross and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts”

  1. I am the only person you know who doesn’t listen to the radio, I prefer my music to be live so rarely listen to any recorded music even in these strange times.

  2. Thank you for the shout out, Laurie! You and Clif are very, very kind in your comments on our music. We thank you! 🙂

    I am listening right now to the other links you provided, and enjoying the wide diversity of music out there. 🙂

  3. It sounds like you have a way to start your day off on a positive note which is always a wonderful thing. 🙂 I like modern day country. We actually ate out today at our favorite burger joint sitting at a picnic table with an umbrella six feet from the next table and country was playing. It’s the first time we’ve eaten at a restaurant since the end of February. That burger never tasted so good. 🙂

  4. I’m actually listening to an Australian podcast from ABC Radio called Conversations. So many interesting interviews with all sorts of people. Music? An Icelandic singer songwriter Asgeir and mixed jazz compilations.

    1. P.S. Guess what?! There is an Asgeir Tiny Desk Concert. How cool is that? I am listening right now. Really like the music! Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Lovely to sample the music you’re listening too, Laurie, Coldplay is very familiar in our house! We have been turning off the news and listening to music, it is very calming and brings balance at this very unsettling time.
    Hope you are enjoying your summer in the garden.

    1. Summer at our home in the woods is glorious this year. Hardly any bugs, which can be a real problem when you live in the woods. Even though I am not at all musical, music has always played a big part in my life. Thank goodness for musicians, singers, and Youtube.

  6. I hardly ever listen to music. I am really struggling to identify what I really like rather than what I think I should like – if that makes sense. Some pieces I do like make me sad because they were the soundtrack to times in the past that I miss. It was lovely to be offered some more things to try and whilst none of them really grabbed me this is the way I will find what does!

    1. If you go to YouTube and request something you know you like, suggestions will follow. That is how I have expanded what I listen to. Wonderful!

  7. Your selections are great. I might get more ideas for writing from music than anything else. Or maybe it just puts my brain in a mood where thoughts and ideas can meander.

  8. I love the tiny desk concerts. So many times, I’ve been introduced to someone by one of them. Today, I listened to Nick Lowe, Brandi Carlile, Madeline Peyroux, and Jason Wilber. Loved your selections.

  9. I do dislike the way autocorrect changes things, and I must get used to proofing my comments. I meant I was introduced to new artists by the Tiny Desk Concerts. Ah, well…

  10. I’ve enjoyed listening to Tiny Desk Concerts and your selection of musicians! It probably will not be a surprise that I’m currently listening to Jimmy Buffett’s new album Life On The Flip Side.🙂

  11. Thanks for sharing NPRs tiny desk concerts! I am a fan of NPR and the concerts are so fun to see! I have been very fortunate to see Coldplay live in concert 2 times and I would like to share their kindness with you. I bought tickets for a concert too late for good seats so my dear friend and I were on the very very top row. We were early, listening to the opening band and it was still light out. A young man who worked for Coldplay walked up to me and offered us free tickets to the floor. I was probably the oldest person in sight and he was so kind. We ran down the stairs to get our wristbands for the close up seats. What a magical night that I will never forget.

      1. Yes! They give you a wrist band that lights up and changes colors. Some one in England invented this with Coldplay in mind. For example when they sang Yellow the whole stadium was glowing yellow from our wrist bands. They are set for the music. At the end you give them back and they recycle them. I have gone 2 times and it is such a joyful experience.

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