A few times a year, various representatives of NPR Music head off to music festivals, sometimes to webcast or broadcast the events and sometimes to scout for tomorrow's obsessions. The loftiest goal we set for our scouting jaunts — whether at South by Southwest in March or at CMJ in New York each fall — is to come home smitten with a new band or singer we'd never heard of a week earlier. Given how much advance preparation we try to undergo in order to get acquainted with the participants, it's not often that we get truly blindsided by a live show.
Last October, Bob Boilen and I were at a coffee shop in Lower Manhattan when we overheard a group warming up for a CMJ event in the back room. We'd never heard of The Kopecky Family Band, a group of fresh-scrubbed college kids from Belmont University in Nashville, so we figured we'd just grab a few songs before heading on to the next thing. Instead, we found ourselves sticking around for the entire set — the Kopeckys' sweet, swollen songs kept blooming into something we couldn't resist.
Since then, The Kopecky Family Band has shown itself as a true up-and-comer: Even as some of its members continue to wrap up their college studies, the group has embarked on a few national tours, though the Tennesseeans won't have to travel far to play a Bonnaroo stage this coming weekend. And, of course, we were delighted to bring in The Kopecky Family Band for this charming Tiny Desk Concert in the NPR Music offices — where our coworkers could stumble onto a wonderful band they'd never heard of.