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Archive for the ‘India Shawn’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE FREE NATIONALS-Tiny Desk Concert #969 (April 20, 2020).

The full name of this concert is The Free Nationals Feat. Anderson .Paak, Chronixx & India Shawn, but that’s too many “featurings” for a headline.

Whenever you look for Tiny Desk Concerts, the top picture is always from the Anderson .Paak show (which was pretty great).  I never really gave it much thought as to why that picture is up there.  But the blurb here says that “Anderson .Paak’s Tiny Desk concert with The Free Nationals, filmed in 2016, is the most popular in the history of the series.”  Who knew?

It was a special return when The Free Nationals arrived in the nation’s capital to showcase their new tunes on March 4, before the coronavirus crisis had set in. Lots of NPR staffers showed up in the hopes that a surprise guest might be in store.

They play four songs.  First is “Beauty & Essex” It opens with opens with Ron Tnava Avant using a voice box on the keys: “Ron Avant invoked Roger Troutman of Zapp on the talk box”, followed by  some slow funky bass lines from Kelsey González.  India Shawn, radiant in a red jump suit, crooned Daniel Caesar’s “Beauty & Essex” in a sultry register.  Midway through, José Rios plays afully distroetd (but slow and very Prince-like) guitar solo.

India, formerly a background singer for .Paak and now an emerging solo artist, also sang lead on the second song,”On Sight” which is about catching the fade (punch across the face).  The end of this song features and even faster ripping guitar solo with some walloping drums from,  Callum Connor.  As the solo ends, Rios says, “It’s crazy to play so quiet.  I want to jump on this table.”

Then “Cheeky Andy,” aka Anderson .Paak, surprised the audience with his signature smile and spunky energy.  I like him a lot–he always has a mischievous smile.  He tells everyone

We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on big budget videos just to have our biggest video be in front of a Tiny Desk.

I don’t know Anderson .Paak much aside from his Tiny Desk, but i can tell it’s him instantly by his drum beat, his drumming style is quite unique.  . “Gidget” is “a song with a groove so catchy that it makes you want to two-step in your living room.”  This song’s about another one of Rios’ exes (see the last concert for the setup to this joke).  Rios asks, “Whys it always got to be about me?” .Paak sings the song and then Avant plays a wicked talk box solo.

.Paak wasn’t the only special guest. Jamaican roots reggae singer Chronixx returned to the Desk to perform his “Eternal Light,” a song he recorded with The Free Nationals on their album.  Btu first Anderson .Paak runs out “you got my phone man?”  Connor passes it to Rios who pretends to throw it.

Chronixx seemed stunned at the number of fans in the audience this time,  “last time I was here there was like five people.”

This song has a reggae feel about positive vibes.  It’s a the most chill song for sure.

It’s fascinating to have seen this band take off from four years ago.

[READ: May 3, 2020] “The Wish for a Good Country Doctor”

This was a totally gripping story.  One that I was not expecting to hear probably as much as the narrator was not expecting to hear it.

It starts with an unusual sentence

Most kids lose or beak their toys.  I curated mine.

In 1976, the narrator was at the University of Iowa in an America Studies program.  Every month, the narrator and “some other hippie Ivy graduates” blanketed the state to find “existing folk manifestations.” They traveled to thrift shops, junk stores and Salvation Armys for tools and dolls and then wrote over-interpretive essays about the items.

They were given $100 a month to purchase things and they set off on a Friday full of caffeine.  On this particular Friday the narrator had gotten a rural mailbox made in 1946 shaped like three Scottish terriers.  And an ironic iconic Find of the Week “a handsomely lettered five-foot-long sign explaining, ‘You’ve Got to Be a Football Hero to Get Along with the Beautiful Girls.  THEREFORE, GO TECH!'” (more…)

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