Sometimes song is thicker than blood.
First drawn together amid a college dorm ‘pass the guitar’ session in 2007, Kopecky Family Band co-founders Kelsey Kopecky and Gabe Simon quickly realized that they shared something beyond their alma mater.
“Gabe started playing and I was totally blown away,” Kopecky remembers, “by his melodies, his talent. Something in the way he played felt so familiar to me and moving. I asked him if he wanted to get together and play some, sing some. And a few days later we did that. And it was crazy, it came together immediately– it just fit.”
“I had just met her,” remembers Simon, “but when we sang together, it sounds corny, but it felt like we’d known each other forever. Old souls meeting again. We were finishing each others lyrics, just immediately connected in the music.”
This synergy propelled the duo forward and within months they had wrangled the rest of their sonic siblings – Steven Holmes on lead guitar, David Krohn on drums, Markus Midkiff on cello, and Corey Oxendine on bass - making them six in total. Within the year the burgeoning Family had released an EP, Embraces, and embarked on a nearly nonstop touring schedule, garnering fans around the country and developing both their sound… and their ties with one another.
“When we were originally trying to figure out a name,” says Simon “we felt that Kelsey’s last name had the right ring to it and we added the ‘family’ because that’s really what it feels like when we all play together.” And that is what it sounds like, too. The Kopecky Family Band are built on a foundation of intimately connected musical tones, warm and welcoming melodies, bright and epic symphonic layering - and vocal harmonies that recall all the greats – Gram and Emmylou, June and Johnny and onward and up… You can hear the band’s hometown of Nashville in this music too, the rich history of place - but past is always brought gently into present. This is not country, not pop, not folk, not rock, but something much more complex - call it a Brave New Nashville. It is a music that contains all the comfort of home while simultaneously embracing a bright, energetic openness - a willingness to explore and expand. Over the past few years there have been two more EPs from the band – The Disaster and Of Epic Proportions (both released in 2010) – as well as a split 7” with Seattle’s Ivan & Alyosha and revelatory performances at the Next Big Nashville and SXSW festivals. 2011 saw the Family on tour with artists including Devotchka and Gomez, and year-end accolades such as Paste naming them one of the ‘25 Best Live Acts’ and ‘20 Best New Bands’ of the year. And after last year’s exhaustive co-headlining tour with The Lumineers, and performances at Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits festival, the band finally got off the bus and into the studio, settling down for their first full-length. The result, Kids Raising Kids, is a collection of tracks that reveal a band fully formed. This is sing-along, clap-your-hands, stomp-your-feet music. But it is also deep music, rife with emotion and layers of feeling – from melancholy to elation and back again.
“With this new record,” explains Kopecky, “we tried really hard to be in our bodies, to be responding to the music not only with our heads and hearts, but in a visceral way too. We wanted it to be honest and emotional and true.” As a result, songs like “The Glow” soar and sweep, while tracks like “Change” keep it quiet and fragile. “She’s the One” rides a dark, propulsive beat while “Waves” is shimmering and blindingly bright and “Heartbeat” is playful, sing-along pop. The record is a study of opposites, yet the refreshingly distinctive, unified sound these six musicians make together bleeds through each and every song. The album holds the cohesiveness and the complexity that belie true family bonds. “We didn’t want to be afraid to explore,” says Simon, of Kids Raising Kids, “we wanted to go deep into different sounds, textures, genres – whatever fit the song and the story we were telling. If there’s a thread that runs through this record it’s the idea of ‘kids raising kids’, of each of us in the band really raising each other these last few years, and of everything that comes with that, the frustration and the fun and the good times and the bad times too. You come out the other side and you hope you’ve helped each other grow.”