Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker
Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame
Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg
Photo: Emily Bogle/NPR.
It's hard to listen to Julien Baker's music and not get the sudden urge to cry. Watch the Memphis based singer-songwriter's performance on NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert above on YouTube. You can also download the Tiny Desk Concert for free as a podcast in video and audio formats.
There are many reasons for all the sadness behind Julien's songs, one of them being the artist's past addiction to drugs and alcohol. In an interview with Paste Magazine, Julien explains that music is an outlet for her to talk about her struggles, "They’re autobiographical songs taken from direct experience. It’s vulnerable, (but) I think getting it out there in a song, you can call it art and put yourself up a wall."
With only her voice, Telecaster guitar, and Walrus effect pedals, Julien is able to create stunning arrangements. She begins the set with "Sprained Ankle," the title track from her 2015 debut album. Julien may be soft spoken, but her voice is strong and full of passion.
The next song Julien plays is a new one which she introduces with the working title "Sad Song #11." If this is a continuation of the 9 off of Sprained Ankle, I can't wait to hear number #10 and hope there's more to come. On their Tiny Desk Concert website, NPR Music has labeled the tune "Funeral Pyre." With somber melodies, Julien's clear, emotional vocals are exposed over harmonic guitar playing.
Between songs, the humble artist gives gratitude for the audience's presence. She ends with the defeated, melancholy "Something," and quietly thanks the crowd once more.
Pick up Sprained Ankle on Amazon.
For Julien Baker's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out her Zumic artist page.
Source: NPR Music YouTube