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Joseph Keckler: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


"My love called me many names," Joseph Keckler sings in "GPS Song," which opens his Tiny Desk (home) concert. He proceeds to list them: "Baby animal. Little baby animal. Big baby animal. Black chicken." (It goes on like this for some time.)

"GPS Song" — which is sung partly in a made-up language and evolves to feature the titular navigation system droning in the background of a breakup — is one of Keckler's hallmark absurdist arias, which he performs with a commanding presence and a winking, deadpan delivery. While their content is quirky (another features the narrator's relapse into a teenage goth identity), it's not quite right to call them strictly funny; they're infused with a kind of intimate, observational detail that makes them simultaneously comedic and affecting. ("It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life," Keckler once said of the situation that inspired "GPS Song," "yet it was also so ridiculous to have this disrupting automaton, breaking our silence to misdirect us at every moment." This performance captures that ridiculousness and heartbreak equally.)

A classically trained singer, performance artist and writer whose work spans styles and genres, Keckler turns his Tiny Desk (home) concert, shot in Brooklyn, into a showcase of his dynamism as a performer. Here, he also performs two other original songs — "City" and "Appearances" — that, while less absurd, are no less striking, displaying the incredible range and expressiveness of his powerful voice.

SET LIST

  • "GPS Song"
  • "City"
  • "Goth Song"
  • "Appearances"
  • MUSICIANS

  • Joseph Keckler: vocals, piano
  • Michael Hanf: guitar, synth, percussion
  • Lavinia Pavlish: violin
  • Matthew Dean Marsh: piano, vocals
  • CREDITS

  • Video: M. Sharkey, Mitch Blummer, Ghitta Larsen, Stephen Lehman, Lee Eaton
  • Audio: Will Tendy
  • TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Marissa Lorusso
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Tiny Production Team: Bob Boilen, Kara Frame, Gabrielle Pierre
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.