Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine took another trip to NPR Music’s Tiny Desk, this time together. In the midst of a more than 30-date, co-headline tour this summer and fall, the two new pals each returned to the NPR office for a stellar, stripped-back and effortlessly in-sync set of favorites.
After opening with a reimagined “Make a Picture,” from Bird’s latest album Inside Problems, they poke fun and joke about how they’ve recently become “best friends forever,” before launching into Iron & Wine’s “Flightless Bird, American Mouth,” followed by a new rendition of Bird’s Fiona Apple duet “Left Handed Kisses,” and Break It Yourself highlight “Orpheo Looks Back.”
Despite accompanying each other so harmoniously, it wasn’t until just last year that the two “BFFs” officially met and first performed together. They’d been mutual fans for awhile – as Bird says, he loves Sam Beam’s writing, and Beam adds that he loves Bird’s handwriting – but they began learning each other’s songs ahead of the Outside Problems Tour, where sold-out crowds at the Greek Theatre, Red Rocks, NYC’s Pier 17 and more have now seen them join each other on-stage every night.
The current leg of Outside Problems continues at a sold-out Salt Shed tonight, in Bird’s native Chicago. Stay tuned for even more performances from Andrew Bird coming on the heels of Inside Problems, which just hit No.1 on the NonComm, Americana, and College radio charts this week.
Regarding Inside Problems, Andrew Bird says: “From Orpheus to Icarus, depths to heights, and the thresholds in between. I’m interested in the moment when something becomes something else, when somewhere becomes somewhere else. That membrane that separates inside from outside. Retreating as we do in to the underlands, to molt our plumage, to exorcise our inside problems and emerge like newborn foals shaking, naked, squinting in the light. Don’t you know that I’m an irrepressible optimist working with a fatal flaw?”