NPR’s storied Tiny Desk Concert series has been different for the majority of 2020. While they got some performances in pre-pandemic, the majority of their offerings this year were filmed not in the NPR offices, but from various spaces around the world. For example, the latest performer in the series is Adrianne Lenker, and instead of cramming behind a tiny desk, she crammed into a tiny wheeled home.
Lenker gave her performance from a camper trailer parked in the famous Joshua Tree National Park. Seated at a tiny table, Lenker tenderly played five songs from Songs: “Zombie Girl,” “Two Reverse,” “Dragon Eyes,” “Anything,” and “Ingydar.” A camper in Joshua Tree is like a Western US version of the Massachusetts cabin where Lenker recorded these tunes, so the setting was appropriate and worked to great effect here.
Lenker previously said of recording Songs and companion album Instrumentals, “I had a handful of songs that I was planning on recording, but by the time [engineer Phil Weinrobe] arrived I was on a whole new level of heartsick and the songs were flying through my ears. I was basically lying in the dirt half the time. We went with the flow. A lot of the focus was on getting nourishment from our meals. We cooked directly on the woodstove, and we went on walks to the creek every day to bathe. […] I’m grateful that this music has come into existence. These songs have helped me heal. I hope that at least in some small way this music can be a friend to you.”
Watch Lenker’s Tiny Desk performance above.