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Daughter Of Swords: Tiny Desk Concert

Back in the Before-Times, when Tiny Desk concerts were held in front of gatherings of people — "crowds," we called them — we'd remind everyone in attendance to silence their cell phones. When the music was loud enough, it didn't matter if people followed instructions. But when Daughter of Swords came to grace us with a few hushed folk songs, the music was so eerily still, you could have heard a phone vibrate.

Though she's joined by a full band here, Daughter of Swords was originally envisioned as a solo project for Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, who returned for a second Tiny Desk concert after making a stop as one-third of the wonderful Mountain Man. Sauser-Monnig's counterparts in that group have already been by as individuals — Molly Sarlé in a solo set, Amelia Randall Meath as the singer of Sylvan Esso — so it was only natural that Sauser-Monnig would return, too, this time to showcase songs from 2019's gorgeous Dawnbreaker (as well as a new track called "Prairie Winter Wasteland").

Between the rustic sweetness of the arrangements and Sauser-Monnig's between-song banter — which included, among other things, a low-key discussion of breakfast foods — Daughter of Swords' set doubles as a fine way to trick your doctor into not prescribing blood-pressure medication. In anxious times, it'll settle you right down.


  • "Long Leaf Pine"
  • "Shining Woman"
  • "Prairie Winter Wasteland"

    Alexandra Sauser-Monnig: guitar, vocals; Maia Friedman: vocals, guitar, keys; Alex Bingham: bass; Joe Westerlund: drums


    Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith, Maia Stern; Creative director: Bob Boilen; Audio engineer: Josh Rogosin, James Willetts; Videographers: Maia Stern, Melany Rochester, Jack Corbett, Morgan Noelle Smith; Editor: Maia Stern; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Production Assistant: Emma Bowers; Executive producer: Lauren Onkey; VP, programming: Anya Grundmann; Photo: Max Posner/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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