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S. Carey: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

Sean Carey's music often evokes the comforts of home, so it only makes sense that he'd gravitate to the quiet confines of a modest kitchen in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wis. This is a Tiny Desk (home) concert in the truest sense: S. Carey performs these four songs surrounded by household appliances and a handful of his closest collaborators.

Carey's fourth solo album, Break Me Open, lends itself perfectly to confined intimacy. The record came out of an intense stretch of Carey's life in which the singer got divorced, lost his father and embarked on a period of deep introspection. But it's a record about growth as well as grief.

Of course, Carey had a clear musical path to follow, given that he joined Bon Iver shortly after bandleader Justin Vernon wrote his own masterful breakup album, For Emma, Forever Ago. Now, more than a decade later, he's the one healing amid the snows of western Wisconsin, just in time for the spring thaw.


  • "Paralyzed"
  • "Where I Was"
  • "Rose Petals"
  • "Island"

  • S. Carey: guitar, Wurlitzer, vocals
  • Courtney Hartman: guitar, vocals
  • Zach Hanson: percussion, vocals
  • Ben Lester: synth
  • Jeremy Boettcher: upright bass

  • Video: Brendan Lauer and Christopher Behnen
  • Audio: Brian Joseph
  • Mixed by S. Carey and Zach Hanson

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Michael Zamora
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    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.)