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Every time I've seen Erin Rae live, she transforms her quiet storms into different hues of squalling introspection. Her performance at the Tiny Desk opens with a soft tide of ambient tones — both a way to ease into the song but also understand that life's unease is ever-present.

Then a lilting acoustic melody introduces "Bad Mind," a stunning statement of identity from a Nashville singer-songwriter who shares the secrets we keep close.

Erin Rae writes songs about letting go of lovers and thoughts that weigh you down, embracing contentment and recognizing the small moments that add up to the grand scheme. But more importantly her songs make you just sit in your thoughts for a tick longer. Putting On Airs, the album Erin Rae released last year, wraps these subtle shifts of folkloric psychedelia in deeply personal songwriting that hits hard two, three listens in.

She's joined here by Jerry Bernhardt, a treasured collaborator and a guitarist who knows how to play decorative but unobtrusive figures. He and drummer Dom Billet both appear on Putting On Airs, taking those arrangements and stretching them out at the Tiny Desk with Mellotron/Rhodes piano player Ben Tanner and bassist Joe Garner. Inventive in these altered live versions, this Tiny Desk closes with "the summer jam," as Erin Rae jokingly calls "Love Like Before," offering another opportunity to reflect as you bop: "Been looking for something I can't track down / Love that I knew before."

SET LIST

  • "Bad Mind"
  • "Can't Cut Loose"
  • "Love Like Before"

MUSICIANS

Erin Rae: vocals, guitar; Ben Tanner: Fender Rhodes, Mellotron; Joe Garner: bass; Dom Billett: drums; Jerry Bernhardt: guitar

CREDITS

Producers: Lars Gotrich, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Patrick Boyd, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Kara Frame, Jeremiah Rhodes; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Paul Georgoulis; Photo: Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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