What happens when you combine a law school student who married a Quaker couple in his free time and someone who shakes his head at technology and social media? You get a damn fine band that is on the verge of a break out.

Flying high on the release of their latest single, Rhett Tierney and Andrew Napoli of the Philly based band Looseleaf are true music men. The passion they have for bringing their music fueled by 60s harmonizing, blues, rock, and reggae is tangible. I had a chat with them and the energy they exude in their live performances came through loud and clear on the phone.

The chemistry between these Fender loving guys (Tierney favors his black Strat and Napoli rocks it on his jazz bass) is obvious.  Their tight friendship began in middle school. Now slipping into their ripe old 20s they have been playing their style of laid back, bluesy, funky sounding music playing for over 10 years. Kyle Sparkman “Kyle with the Style’ lends his rad skills as guitarist to brilliant effect. Another middle school friend, Ryan Lutz, rounds it out on the kit.  They have dropped 2 LPS and drip fed us some singles such as the latest “Mixed Emotions”, a song ripe with expressive charge and tight musicianship. They are coming through with a 4 song EP in November. Inspired by a range of different music tastes, this four piece not only kicks but they will bring a smile to your rain splattered face.  The name of the band is a hat tip to Tierney’s writing style. He crafts his prose on straight up notebook paper. Not much for social media, he keeps it easy with by going old school with pen and paper. Napoli handles the social media aspect of being a band in this computer-fueled time.

Tierney’s rich baritone vocals and commanding front man style coupled with Napoli’s bass moves make this a band worth listening too on the daily and also one should check out live. The most impressive thing I noticed about the guys in Looseleaf is their fun factor. These guys enjoy playing their tunes. They have such a loose vibe when they play live

They released their debut LP Word on the Street in 2012. The tracks were mixed and produced by Todd Mecaughey of Secret American. Tierney really opens his voice up on the title song “You’re a looong way from home.” There is a jam band sound on the second and third song on the LP, “Tell a Vision” and “Mama Knows Best”. “Nothing I can explain/It’s all in your brain” is a lyric I related to on a cerebral level

Their sophomore album, aptly named Friends, came out in 2017. One definitely discerns the musical progression in the vocal delivery and the guitar playing. On “Wildfire” they even add some horns to amazing effect. Again on the title track the horns add to the complexity. The keys on “Much more than the Cash” have an ear worm quality.  With titles like “Guy on the Side”, “New Love”, “Blame” and Back Seat lover, you might get where these songs are going. Complexity and the addition of horns and keys give these songs incredibly delicious sounds. I especially liked and sadly related to “Guy on the Side”. Tierney and I both think that it is a common occurrence and we both agreed it was sad.

“Lately you wanna be with two men
Maybe I’m just your second best friend”

It’s the reverse song of a girl getting her heart ripped out, indicating that it happens to guys too. Tierney bases his songs on occurrences that shape his life. He has a penchant for writing spot on tunes that render him vulnerable, yet he still had that keep on keeping on attitude. He told me keeps his creative fire churning by writing a song a day. He is full time musician through and through. He plays around the Philly area 3 – 4 times a week on a solo basis.

Looseleaf covers Beatles tunes with very professional and sharp replications of Lennon and McCartney postures. For “Don’t Let Me Down” they did the video on a rooftop in Philly, all powered by solar energy, much like the Fabs pulled off in their famous illegal rooftop session. One of the YouTube comments was, “Clean harmonies. The best cover by far” Another fan mentioned “fierce chemistry and incredible musicality”.They also do a stellar cover of “Sounds of Silence”

Seeing “Mixed Emotions” on a local TV show shows off the easy vibe between Tierney and Napoli  and is a delight to behold. They jive together, it is evident. Napoli deftly plays the bass, both genuinely looking like they are having a good time and just doing their thing. They are the opposite of Liam and Noel.  There is an ease to their live playing. The track starts out with some jangly surf guitar sounds morphing into Tierney’s rich vocals:

“Go get your camera
Take none of me”
“You want the lifestyle
that you don’t need”
“Mixed emotions
it’s all from you”

They are dropping an EP in November. The four tracks are again mastered by Mecaughey. I’m looking forward to “Blame” “Smoke 2 Joints” “Pretty Woman” and “All In Your Head”. They claim their best work is yet to come. And I, for one, believe them.

 

Tina Romano

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