Music to muse on

It all started with NPR. Well, it didn't all start there, but that was a turning point. I can’t quite remember how, but years ago I discovered NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, which launched me into a newfound love for music. And not just any music, but good music. Thought-provoking and passionate and expertly crafted music. And you wouldn’t know it by my near-nonexistent track record of concert-attending, but there’s something, too, about live music that really reaches the depths of my music-loving heart. Even if it’s recorded. In a cramped, messy office. In fact, maybe it’s even better that way. Unpolished and raw and spontaneous. Swoon.

And I love that music has this unparalleled power to transport its listener to a certain day, or season, or emotion. For me, I’ll always remember crying on the flight back from England where I’d studied for six months when I hear Michael Kiwanuka. The Weepies always take me back to the music section in the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh. David Wilcox transports me to my mother’s side, chopping vegetables for dinner. Music is powerful. And yes, while we all have different tastes and preferences, I thought I’d share some of my favorites. So, if you happen to like indie folk that’s great for a relaxed dinner party or dozing off or deep contemplation, you’re in for a treat.

For starters, here are my very favorite Tiny Desk Concerts. It’s only right to begin here:

The Lone Bellow

Lily & Madeline




The Civil Wars

The Avett Brothers

The Oh Hellos

Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop

The National

I just love them. Sometimes I put them on in the background as I’m working but then I can’t help but watch, too. (I’m looking at you, Lone Bellow. I once read that they perform each song as if it’s the last time they will. It’s wonderful and true.) Lily and Madeline are so endearingly nervous, husband and wife duo Amanda and Abner of Johnnyswim have the most delightful chemistry, the ladies of Joseph have this sweet sisterly joie de vivre. And I could go on.

And at the risk of going on and on and on, I figured I’d condense the rest of my rambling thoughts and recommendations into a nice and neat playlist for you. I hope you enjoy it! And I am always looking for more music to love—I’d be delighted to hear your favorites, too!




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