The Key Studio Sessions: Ryan Tennis - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

Photo by Kate McCann |

I knew as soon as I heard last fall’s Pack Light but Bring Everything that Philly’s Ryan Tennis would be recording in our studio in the not-too-distant future. What I didn’t know was how many folks he’d have in tow. I figured singer-songwriter, plus backing players, would equal what – three people, four tops? As we were swapping emails to coordinate plans, he sorta casually mentioned “Yeah, I’d like to bring in my nine-piece band, hope that’s cool.” NINE players?! Once the surprise wore off, and I got everyone loaded into our studio, I realized how essential the large group was. They’re called the Clubhouse Band, and it’s a testament to the community vibe of their South Philly HQ, the spot they have regular and freewheeling house concert group jams. These folks were riffing full-tilt on a rootsy chord progression with vocal harmonies, trumpet and bongo percussion before I even had all the mics plugged in. In our session we get a few different sides to Tennis’ crew – the quiet-to-exhuberant swell of “Madeline,” the contemplative “Walk On” the cathartic “Fight Song” – with local MC Max MilLionz spitting a verse – and the very introspective, pleading closer “Best for You.” Listen and download the tracks below, and look for more local live music from Tennis and the Clubhouse Band this summer.

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