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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Celebrating The Animal Friends Of The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest

Clockwise from top left: Crys Matthews; MDRN HSTRY; Zmoos & Salous; Lo Pony; Chris Diller; Jeanie Carlin
Clockwise from top left: Crys Matthews; MDRN HSTRY; Zmoos & Salous; Lo Pony; Chris Diller; Jeanie Carlin

Update: You voted, we listened. This week's fan-favorite Dog of the Tiny Desk Contest is: Juice and her human, Crys Matthews.

Matthews' shuffling acoustic tune with its campfire sing-along chorus captured your hearts as it put into words the life-changing learning experience that is loving a dog: "Won't you teach me how to be a little more like you / How to always see the best in people no matter what they do," Matthews sings.

Thank you Crys Matthews and Juice! Because they're all good dogs, we would like to present you with this supercut video of some of the dogs — and cats, and other critters — we saw in this year's Tiny Desk Contest entries.

Congratulations again to Crys Matthews and to all the nominees in our fan favorite votes; you can check out all the canine nominees below. Next week, we'll be announcing the winner of the Tiny Desk Contest. While you're waiting on the edge of your seats, don't forget to check out all of this year's eligible entries at the Tiny Desk Contest site. These musicians have amazed us all with their passion and creativity; we're so glad to have all these artists, fans and friends in the Tiny Desk Contest community.

That's all, folks: stay tuned next week for the winner!

Zmoos & Salous, "Closure"

This DC-based duo with NPR-worthy radio names (here's looking at you, Corinne Zmoos and Sam Salous) gave us the inside scoop about the song in its entry video — and its fluffy mastermind.

"Cooper is a 5-month-old Cavapoo and he was the brains of the whole operation," the band writes. "He wrote the song, directed the video and even typed in the submission. The harmonies in the chorus? All auto-tuned barks.

I know it may seem like a tall tail — feel free to paws and reflect as much as you need. Cooper wishes he could send you this email himself, but he's very busy trying to eat my socks and barking at nothing."

Lo Pony, "Tiny Smoke"

Lo Pony's Contest entry features a pupper named Olivia who stands guard over the recording device for a bit before quietly snoozing on the couch. Musician Kale Chesney serenades her with a bit of banjo-driven folk and tells NPR: "She is an (almost) 8 year old basset hound who has a baritone howl and an affinity for shortcake. She my partner Kt's dog, and her full name is Olivia Benson-Corlett."

Jeanie Carlin, "Works of Art"

This entry features a sweet pup named Glory who majestically perches on songwriter Jeanie Carlin's guitar and takes in the Wisconsin air as Carlin sings an acoustic ballad. Here's what Carlin had to tell us about Glory:

"She is such a blessing! I sing for seniors and she sits on my guitar the whole hour that I entertain and lets folks pet her ... She even does a little dance for them at the end ... I used to tie a scarf on my shoulder and carry her next to the guitar. And then I thought, 'Well why not just put her on top of the guitar' and she is quite comfortable there!"

Crys Matthews, "By My Side"

Truly, dogs bring out the best of us. Songwriter Crys Matthews dedicated this song to her faithful pup, singing "If I could be half the person my dog is / Then I would be twice the human I am."

"Juice has been with me since she was eight weeks old," Matthews tells NPR. "That was over ten years ago. She's been by my side for the highs and lows, steadfastly reminding me how to love with every fiber of my being ... I wrote the song as a giant 'thank you' to Juice for the incredible friend she has been to me over the years, but I hope everyone who has ever loved an animal can relate to it."

(I'm not crying, you're crying.)

MDRN HSTRY, "San Jose"

These Bay Area boys sure do love their well-behaved furry friend. Rumor has it Bella prefers old-school hip-hop to the jangly guitar rock MDRN HSTRY makes, so maybe she's just here for pets. Here's what the band told us:

"'Bella' is short for Bellandranog-non Faltrooth Hemmingpurse. She's an 11 year old purebred Barking Mop, band mascot and sonic inspiration ...

The facts:

1. She enjoys eating and yawning while in between naps under the organ bench.

2. She waits for the 'walk' signal at crosswalks.

3. She has a higher attendance level than most band members."

Chris Diller, "Wyoming Skye"

How age-old is the imagery of a man and his dog enjoying the great outdoors? Chris Diller and his dog, Skye, might have been stuck in the city when recording this entry video, but Diller's song explores the awe-inspiring power of nature. We think Skye would make a perfect companion for an adventure into the wild.

"Skye is a good boy and the most loyal roadie this side of the Mississippi," Diller tells NPR. "Like a blond Toto, he's an 18 pound Cairn Terrier who loves to play fetch ... He usually hits the stage with me during outdoor beach shows or helps me load in at local music venues ... Friends and followers are usually upset if I leave him home. If a crowd demands an encore, Skye performs his round of tricks as a closer. He's a show stopper!"

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