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.

Tom Huizenga | July 28, 2021
Anna B Savage’s new home these days is the west coast of Ireland near Mullaghmore, where this striking video was shot. Moss clings to a shoreline cove where seagulls circle in air so moist you could slice right through it.

Savage’s songs, too, are thick with unfiltered feelings, self-interrogation and wry humor, raising the bar for any Joni Mitchell-inspired confessional songwriting. The three she performs here are pulled from different moments in her career and personal life but cohere around the theme of struggling in the darkness of a toxic relationship before emerging into self-confident sunshine. The songs might be self-referential, but like Mitchell’s they speak in customized messages with a voice that whispers intimacies one moment and soars with operatic glory the next.

In “Corncrakes,” Savage’s beloved birds trigger mixed feelings for a lover, climaxing in the repeated line that itself could have been our collective mantra over the past year: “I don’t know if this is even real. I don’t feel things as keenly as I used to.”

“Since We Broke Up,” a new song premiered here, finds Savage rising from personal struggles to once again enjoy her own company, while the astounding “One,” from her 2015 breakthrough EP, paints a painful bedroom scene of self-doubt and embarrassment that ultimately leads to an explosive epiphany.

Enamored of her new environs, Savage told NPR she chose the locale to “showcase some of my new, completely wild and amazing landscape.” But what she truly offers here is the terrain inside the mind of one of today’s most distinctive cartographers of human temperament.

SET LIST
“Corncrakes”
“Since We Broke Up”
“One”

MUSICIANS
Anna B Savage: vocals, guitar

CREDITS
Video: Ross McClean
Audio: Lee McMahon

TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bob Boilen
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mastering: Andy Huether
Associate Producer: Bobby Carter
Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Josh Rogosin, Gabrielle Pierre
Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

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