Dermot Kennedy: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Aug. 24, 2018 | Stephen Thompson — Dermot Kennedy took this assignment seriously. The Dublin singer-songwriter wasn’t content with merely re-creating his songs as they sound in the studio, or stripping lavish productions down to simple acoustic arrangements. So he got himself a gospel choir.

More specifically, Kennedy and his band flew in from Ireland a day ahead of time to meet and rehearse with members of Washington, D.C.’s Howard Gospel Choir. Every arrangement was painstakingly plotted ahead of time, so that every note would be perfect.

Two of the songs Kennedy performs here (“Moments Passed” and “An Evening I Will Not Forget”) pop up on an EP he released this year with hip-hop producer Mike Dean, and both sound radically different in this performance. They’re still forceful — and still centered on the singer’s elastic, bombastic voice — but also looser, warmer, more open.

Put simply, they sound like the work of a future star: a modest former busker (and current NPR Slingshot artist) with a voice built to fill stadiums in more ways than one.

Set List
“Moments Passed”
“An Evening I Will Not Forget”
“Glory”

Personnel
Dermot Kennedy (vocals, guitar); Kieran Jones (keyboards/effects); Jonny Coote (piano); Micheál Quinn (drums); Keila Mumphord, Taylor Nevels, Chamille Boyd, Jazmine Thomas (backing vocals)

Credits
Producers: Stephen Thompson, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Suraya Mohamed, Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, CJ Riculan, Khun Minn Ohn, Niki Walker; Production Assistant: Catherine Zhang; Photo: Eslah Attar/NPR.

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Comment (32)

  1. Dermot, the lyrics, the poetry, the sincerity…it's all a work of art.  Especially how his octaves keep rising – higher and higher.  What an amazing voice.  Purple, blue, orange, red…

  2. His music is the only music that takes me to the best place mentally and it’s so well I don’t think I of one girl just bliss

  3. I've spent plenty of time on the NPR Music channel, but this is the first Tiny Desk concert that made me cry. So happy to have discovered you, Mr. Kennedy.

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