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Tiny Desk Premiere: Squirrel Flower

"This little guy is someone we picked up on the road," Squirrel Flower, aka songwriter Ella Williams, says between songs, referencing a tiny toy alligator resting on her mic stand. The Chicago-based indie rocker stopped by the Tiny Desk on the heels of touring her latest album, Tomorrow's Fire. Here, she plays stripped back versions of her thundering rock songs without her band, giving way for her low register, affecting lyricism and guitar skills to shine.

There's an intensity unique to each song Williams plays in her Tiny Desk set. "I told you, I've never been in love," she begins on the aching "Almost Pulled Away." On "Alley Light," she sings about not being able to take things slow, musing "maybe that's why she loves me." The set seems to reach its apex on "Finally Rain," when Williams' vocals ring the loudest. But then for the closer, "Iowa 146," Williams thaws as she performs with a quiet kind of focus that's just as powerful. She carefully plucks her strings and asks gently: "If I play you guitar, will everything fall away?"


  • "Almost Pulled Away"
  • "Alley Light"
  • "Finally Rain"
  • "Iowa 146"


  • Squirrel Flower: vocals, guitar


  • Producer: Elle Mannion
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Josephine Nyounai 
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern
  • Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault 
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Michael Zamora
  • Tiny Desk Team: Joshua Bryant, Hazel Cills
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

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Elle Mannion
[Copyright 2024 NPR]