Philly Brings Big Talents to Tiny Desks

When a much-exalted institution like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert program puts out a call for submissions, as they recently did for their Tiny Desk Contest, artists will listen. Philadelphia, home to many talented musicians and musical groups, was no exception.

The contest, which ended on January 19th, offers one winning artist the chance to be recorded and featured as part of the Tiny Desk Concert series–a chance which thousands of artists across the country made sure not to miss out on. The grand prize winner will be announced via NPR’s channels on February 12th. In the meantime, take a few minutes to see just five of the many entries submitted from Philadelphia-area artists, and marvel at the talent contained in our city’s music scene!

Just under the wire (hours before the contest deadline), self-described musical weirdo Ron Gallo submitted a new song, “Kill the Medicine Man”. Caitlin McCann‘s creative videography gives the submission an up-close feel that echoes the usual Tiny Desk Concert videos, but maintains that touch of wild, imperfect energy that usually permeates both McCann’s work and Gallo’s songs.


Another entry from the American Diamond Recordings family, this time a new song from growly, gravelly country-rockers Levee Drivers, called “Miles on End”. Bob Sweeney shot and edited the video, the result of which is a strong and engrossing contrast between the somewhat sterile office environment and the classically-grungy Americana feel that the band thrives in.


Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Chelsea Sue Allen writes lush songs that form distinctively atmospheric vignettes.  In her Tiny Desk Contest entry, filmed by her sister Shay Aubrey Allen, the video echoes the way her songs are like waking dreams–it’s thoughtful and definite, and just a tiny bit hazy around the edges. The song, “Tall Dreams”, is a tease for fans excitedly and expectedly awaiting her upcoming album, Lonely Ages, due out this spring.


Perhaps the sweetest entry of all the Philadelphia submissions, this video featuring folk guitarist Brad Hinton and accompaniment by Bethany Brooks on accordion will draw you in and hold you captive with the gentlest of hands. Hinton’s vocals are like a warm mug of tea, Brooks’s harmonies slide in like honey off a spoon, and both lay just right over the instruments waltzing below. The pair are captured perfectly by the delicately intimate videography from Kettle Pot Tracks‘s own Michael and Nicole Batchelor.


Soulful Philly singer Ginger Coyle‘s entry features the tiniest desk of all the Philadelphia-area entries, but also features much more–like a chilled-out piano groove that fits in just right with the cozy surroundings, and casually wandering camera work that makes the whole submission feel a little bit like you’re right there on the piano bench next to her.


These, of course, are just some of the many unbelieveable entries from Philadelphia’s music scene. Know of more Philadelphia artists who contributed to the Tiny Desk Contest? Who do you think should win? Put your own links in the comments below!


  1. Michele Lynn

    January 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    A playlist of all the Philly entries…

    ~ Michele Lynn

    • Breanna

      January 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks Michele! This list was very helpful when I was searching for some of the videos to spotlight, too 🙂

  2. Amanda Penecale

    January 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Hey guys,
    Do Philly transplants count 😉 I just moved to Nashville. Just wanted to share my submission. I really like Brad Hinton’s song, wandering eye.


  3. Karen Harper

    January 21, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Awesome, Ginger Coyle is the best!!!!

  4. Heand Silvestri

    January 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Ginger Coyle has an incredible voice with a unique style, and all this without bursting anyone’s ear drums with volume. She is a great entertainer. Hope we hear more from her.

  5. Hugh Luck

    January 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    i (we) have some awesomely talented friends!

  6. Sharon smith

    January 23, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Loved the entry by Ginger Coyle! Amazing talent with a beautiful voice!

  7. Ken Hutchinson

    January 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Love the clips here, but I just wanted to add this one from another great Philly artist, No Good Sister.

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