NPR Tiny Desk
Since 2008, NPR has hosted an eclectic range of artists in its Tiny Desk concert series—from superstars like Adele and Lizzo to Broadway casts and international bands. NPR launched the Tiny Desk Contest in 2015 to offer a chance for undiscovered artists to showcase their work at the eponymous desk. Several artists have emerged as contest winners to build impressive careers, such as Gaelynn Lea and Tank And The Bangas. Over time, NPR has worked to build the contest community by featuring entries on their website, social media, and newsletters. In 2020, NPR started the Top Shelf podcast with a rotating roster of contest judges selecting and discussing their favorite entries, sometimes bringing in the artists. Over the years, several Nebraska artists have entered the contest. This miniseries covers a few of those artists.
The Wildwoods (2022)
In 2012, Chloe and Noah Gose discovered their shared love of music and decided to join the Academy of Rock in Lincoln together. They moved toward folk music and played shows throughout high school, bringing in Chloe’s brother Noah Pinkman as a founding member of The Wildwoods. That same love of music has taken them across the festival circuit and as far as Europe. They released their first full-length album, “Sweet Nostalgia,” in 2017, as well as EP “Birdie & Goose.” Their most recent release is 2019’s “Across A Midwest Sky.”
The Wildwoods have entered the Tiny Desk Contest three times now. Their approach changes from one contest year to the next, with different personnel on each song. In 2019, they performed the song “Rains of Syracuse” crowded around a single microphone, in the style of old-time and bluegrass bands. Their second entry, recorded in isolation during the first months of the pandemic, was just the two of them.
This year, they chose “Thirteen Sailboats” with Michelle Bartos on cello and Harrison ElDorado on drums. The lyrics evoke mythic folk ballads while telling a very personal story.
When he wrote these lyrics, Noah Gose was “unsure of the path… are we making the right choice, trying to make our music work full time? I imagine myself as a sailor going through life, cursed by the what if. What if I had taken this [different] path?”
Chloe Gose said she felt that way as well when they graduated college. She wondered, “should we do the smart thing, use our degrees and figure out how to sustain ourselves that way? Or should we do what makes us happy?”
Writing songs together continues to bring them happiness. Sometimes, a song can bring comfort, too. Chloe was going through some difficulties but did not feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. Noah wrote “Little Home” to speak directly to her in a way that words at the time could not.
Outside of Tiny Desk entries, the Wildwoods are no strangers to making music videos. “Little Home” is a portrait of their life together, complete with their dog, Margaret. Their videos are produced by Brent and Derek Maze.
The Wildwoods are currently recording a new album, anticipating a release date this summer or early fall. One of their new songs, “Like My Old Man,” will be featured in “Four Seasons of COVID,” a film by UNL professor James Le Sueur, during a segment about the sandhill cranes. The release date has not yet been announced.