Mama's Broke: Tiny Desk Concert
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 Published On Mar 8, 2023

Bob Boilen | March 8, 2023
A couple of chairs, a small room and a cozy crowd describes the last eight years of tour stops for Mama’s Broke. Having performed in intimate venues including homes and cabins, as well as stages, being at the Tiny Desk may have felt right at home for the Canadian duo. Lisa Maria Bates and Amy Lou Keeler make powerful songs with haunting harmonies and a mesh of fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. You’ll hear unique rhythms as Amy takes her chopsticks to Lisa’s fiddle and Lisa takes her heels to the floorboard.

Elements of Appalachian folk, Celtic ballads, Nova Scotian traditions and Ukrainian folk from Lisa’s grandfather’s collection are woven into the duo’s music. The frantic pace of touring came to a halt for Amy and Lisa when the COVID pandemic started, like it did for much of the world, and they had some time to write tunes and try out new tunings. The opening song, written in Lisa’s uninsulated Nova Scotia cabin in the throes of the first pandemic winter, is filled with poignant resignation.

Just pick one, it’ll hurt some if it needs to
I know weakness is a sickness and a virtue
And cold bitter winds are never-ending
So just pick one, it’s a season, it’ll run through

The songs come from Mama’s Broke’s new album, Narrow Line, and its2017 debut, Count The Wicked. There are moments of hope in this set of somewhat dark songs: “What Can May Come” is one of those moments, and also, in the final tune “The Ones That I Love,” where Amy and Lisa put down their instruments and send love through those perfect harmonies.

“Just Pick One”
“Wrecking Need”
“What Can May Come”
“Even Though”
“The Ones That I Love”

Lisa Maria Bates: vocals, fiddle, foot board, mandolin
Amy Lou Keeler: vocals, guitar, banjo, fiddlesticks

Producer: Bob Boilen
Director/Editor: Maia Stern
Audio Engineer: Alex Drewenskus
Audio Mix: Josh Rogosin
Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Sofia Seidel
Audio Assistant: Josephine Nyouani
Production Assistant: Jill Britton
Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame, Ashley Pointer, Pilar Galvan
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann

#tinydesk #nprmusic #mamasbroke

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