Conor Oberst’s new album has fast become my favorite of the Bright Eyes singer’s solo projects, so having him come to NPR and perform a few of these songs at the Tiny Desk was especially exciting. The new music on Upside Down Mountain contains the sort of personal songwriting that got me loving him in the first place. His backing band for this tour is the roots-rock group Dawes, which has a huge following in its own right.
At the Tiny Desk, Dawes brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith joined in on beautiful harmonies, guitar and some light percussion. It was an especially sweet day — a rare weekend Tiny Desk Concert that had friends and families present, including Oberst’s wife (Corina Figueroa-Escamilla) and his father Matthew.
Oberst actually began making music on his dad’s four-track cassette machine more than 20 years ago. Now 33, Oberst seems much happier, if his songs are any indication. You may even see that on his face as he performs these stripped-down and soulful songs on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. –BOB BOILEN
“Zigzagging Toward The Light”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Olivia Merrion; Production Assistant: Alex Schelldorf; photo by Olivia Merrion/NPR