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Music features, reviews and "first listens" from NPR. Find more music at WUNC's Back Porch Music.

Frank Fairfield: Tiny Desk Concert

They came to the Tiny Desk a bit groggy, having been up late playing music in the hotel the night before. It's what Frank Fairfield and his friends Tom Marion and Zac Sokolow do when they're together. And the music they make is casual and mostly hand-me-down songs from well before Fairfield was born nearly 30 years ago. These old timey marches, polkas and mountain tunes course through Fairfield's veins — you can hear it in his spellbinding voice, his fluid fiddle playing, his warm-toned banjo picking and even as he plucks bass lines on a cello. He's learned his tunes listening to 78s and hanging around older guys like Marion, a man of few words and lots of effortless mandolin melodies. It's as close as we might get to days gone by without feeling nostalgic, simply happy we have Frank Fairfield to brighten this tiny day.

Set List

  • "Tres Piedras"
  • "I Ain't A Goin' To Weep No More"
  • "Campanile De Venecia/Sharpshooters March"
  • Credits

    Producers: Bob Boilen, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Brian Jarboe; Videographers: Nick Michael, Maggie Starbard; Assistant Producer: Emily Jan; photo by Emily Jan/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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