Arts & Culture

Will Chiles, “Wayfaring Stranger”

Check out Will Chiles's submission for NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts on YouTube.

By Brett Johnston

Jan 30 2017 at 3:25 p.m.


Packed into a living room and surrounded by a cast of tremendous musicians, Will Chiles’s simply shot video entry for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert is a chilling rendition of the American folk/gospel classic. Chiles trades haunting vocal melodies with Liz Carney, who also picks an acoustic guitar, and Molly Healey, also on cello. Chiles’s arrangement of “Wayfaring Stranger” gently eases in, gathering instrumentation and pace, until falling into a dance. The song originated in the 1800s. It has been recorded or performed by hundreds of artists like Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash and even Jack White. Award-winning bassist Austin Wilson (Branson’s “Million Dollar Quartet”) keeps the up-tempo sections bouncing on upright bass. View the Tiny Desk Submission on YouTube.