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Esmé Patterson: Tiny Desk Concert

There's a vibrance to the current music of Esmé Patterson that I wasn't expecting, having listened to her previous band Paper Bird. Gone are the banjos and remnants of folk music, and in their place are electric guitars — sometimes fierce and, here at the Tiny Desk, somewhat understated. She's a relative newcomer to the guitar, making it part of her songwriting only since leaving Paper Bird. But all of this instrumentation is meant to be supportive, not center-stage. At the heart of these songs, from her album We Were Wild, is a reach for independence:

I can't sit still 'cause I'm no mountain

I can't sit so still 'cause I'm no mountain

I can't sit still forever, I'm no mountain

I'm human, I'm human

If there's a thread that ties Patterson's songs together, it's discovering who you are and standing strong. She's doing that well — with a powerful and sensitive band that's got her back.

We Were Wild is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • "No River"
  • "Wantin Ain't Gettin"
  • "Yours And Mine"
  • Musicians

    Esmé Patterson (vocals, guitar); Alex Koshak (drums); Jeremy Averitt (bass); Jake Miller (lead guitar)

    Credits

    Producers: Bob Boilen, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith, Bronson Arcuri; Production Assistant: A Noah Harrison; Photo: NPR.

    For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

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