The day before Keaton Henson arrived to play the Tiny Desk, we hosted a group called The No BS! Brass Band, a nearly dozen-piece horn section with an almost brutal (and totally amazing) sound. It was one of the loudest and most thrilling, heart-pounding Tiny Desk sets we've ever had.
Keaton Henson's performance could not have been more unlike the show the day before. When a cozy crowd of curious listeners showed up the next day to see him play, I asked everyone to get as close as they could, without freaking out the admittedly shy singer from London. Don't let the presence of this fantastic recording (by our engineer Kevin Wait) fool you. Henson's voice was so fragile and hushed, if you were 10 feet away you would have barely heard a peep from him.
But what Henson's music lacked in volume, it more than made up for in feeling. If the No BS! Brass Band was one of the boldest Tiny Desk shows, his was among the most moving. As I mentioned back in April, when we introduced a video for his song "You," he has one of the most beautiful, arresting voices I've heard.
Remarkably, Henson has only been playing music for a couple years; he took up the guitar to help heal his broken heart after a failed relationship. He's also a poet and illustrator who's released one graphic novel called Gloaming and is already at work on another.
For this Tiny Desk performance, Henson performed three songs from his new album, Birthdays.
- "You Don't Know How Lucky You Are"
- "Sweetheart What Have You Done To Us"
Producers: Denise DeBelius, Robin Hilton; Editor: Parker Miles Blohm; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; photo by Gabriella Demczuk/NPR