Big Thief Performs Unreleased Track “Happiness” for NPR Tiny Desk

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

On July 20, the folk band Big Thief joined NPR’s Tiny Desk from the comfort of their home and performed their unreleased track “Happiness.”

The band performed their Tiny Desk (home) concert upstairs in a “windy Connecticut” house and perched by a coffee table. They played four songs for the 20-minute video segment which included “Change,” “Dried Roses,” and “Certainty”—all off their new album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You. To end their show, the band played their unreleased track “Happiness.”

In describing the set, producer Bob Boilen said, “There’s a bit of a ‘hold on to your hat’ feel here, with players watching each other for a possible surprise. Maybe it’s James Krivchenia’s banjo percussion, the galloping rhythm on ‘Certainty’ or how the four musicians sing aloud on a chorus; it is so much fun to see it all unfold. The final song was the biggest surprise; it’s an unreleased song Big Thief has been performing, appropriately called ‘Happiness.'”

The set includes the entire band: Adrianne Lenker, vocals and guitar, Buck Meek, guitar and vocals, Max Oleartchik, bass and vocals, and James Krivchenia, percussion and vocals. The last time Big Thief played a Tiny Desk concert altogether was in 2016.

As for the tender performance, Boilen said, “Big Thief songs are often filled with tender tales and poetic and playful words.” Those poetic and playful words are definitely present on their new album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You. Their fifth studio album was released in February 2022 and was met with critical acclaim and saw it as one of the best releases of the year. Big Thief recorded the album in five different places across America, including Massachusetts, Upstate New York, California, Colorado, and Arizona.

You can catch Big Thief’s unreleased song “Happiness” in their Tiny Desk concert below.

Photo by Alexa Viscius

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