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Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine: Tiny Desk Concert


Bob Boilen, NPR Music

I'd been entertained and enchanted by the many of the 150 or so small concerts Andrew Bird performed on Instagram during the pandemic. Then I heard his new album, "Inside Problems," and invited him to the desk.

It had been six years since his first Tiny Desk performance, which was with a band; this time, I wanted an intimate solo performance. He and Iron & Wine's Sam Beam were becoming friends and touring together, and Andrew's idea was to have Sam perform on the final tune. But as they played together night after night on tour, that one song turned into four, and an Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine Tiny Desk was born.

Sam Beam is no stranger to the desk either. His first concert was a solo show in 2011, when the series was just a few years old. He returned with Calexico in 2019.

The two of them together are playful, poking fun at one another. "We started learning each other's songs," Andrew said, "I love Sam's writing" — to which Sam retorted, "I love your handwriting." The silly smiles launched them into the Iron & Wine song "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" from 2007.

An absolute favorite moment is when they perform Andrew Bird's "Left Handed Kisses," performed originally as a duet with Fiona Apple and remade here with serious fun by our dynamic duo.

This concert occurred near the end of a nearly 30-city tour postponed by COVID. The two met in the waters of Yosemite in 2021, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more from this musical friendship in the years to come.

Set list

  • "Make a Picture"
  • "Flightless Bird, American Mouth"
  • "Left Handed Kisses"
  • "Orpheo Looks Back"


  • Andrew Bird: vocals, violin, guitar, loop pedals
  • Sam Beam: guitar, vocals

Tiny Desk team

  • Producer/Series Creator: Bob Boilen 
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin 
  • Director: Kara Frame 
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter 
  • Editor: Michael Zamora 
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Michael Zamora, Pierre Kattar 
  • Production Assistants: Jill Britton, Alanté Serene, Joby Tanseco
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer, Maia Stern
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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