Home #Hwoodtimes Two acts, two styles, one common thread make Jared Harper and Jane...

Two acts, two styles, one common thread make Jared Harper and Jane Leo kindred spirits at 2024 BottleRock

By: Valerie Milano

Jared Harper Truly stage (Photo: THT)

Napa Valley, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/28/2024 – Among all the groups appearing on Sunday’s final day of the 2024 BottleRock music, wine, food and brews festival, there were two acts who were about as dissimilar as they could be, but who actually had more in common than one might suspect.

Bay Area musician Jared Harper and duo Jane Leo, who hails from Austin, Texas, brought starkly different styles to their respective stages. Harper describes his style as heavily blues and roots oriented. Harper and his band performed two amazing sets on Sunday, starting at noon on the Truly Stage, then moving immediately to the JaMPad for a second set at 1:30.

Jane Leo on the Truly stage (Photo: THT)

The music of Jane Leo – the duo of Jane Ellen Bryant and her husband, Daniel “Leo” Leopold – is described as “inky new wave pulses” and “bombastic, cinematic, and driving” by those who know them best. The pair enthralled the BottleRock crowd gathered at the Truly Stage, at 1:30, for their only set of the festival.

Click below to see our exclusive interview with Jane Leo:

Despite their artistic differences in style and substance, the two acts had one very important thing in common: This was their very first BottleRock. In fact, it was their first festival of any kind, with both enjoying large and enthusiastic crowds for their performances.

(Photo: Justine Willard)

Harper had the advantage of being a “local” known quantity, his crowd was packed with friends, family and fans who were familiar with his music.

“It felt really good having all my friends and family there,” a visibly tired Harper said as he sat down for an exclusive conversation with The Hollywood Times. “I am so grateful that my first music festival is in Napa, where it’s like everybody I’ve grown up with, and my friends’ families, they can all come to this, and they did.”

Click below to see our exclusive interview with Jared Harper:

Indeed, fans of all ages could be seen singing along to his original tunes. The presence of those folks certainly helped Harper deliver a smooth and charismatic performance.

(Photo: Justine Willard)

“That was really something, seeing all those familiar faces, all the new faces,” he said. “It’s just like a really good vibe out here, where everybody feels like a friend to me.”

The crowd even included his best friend and new wife, who had just gotten married in Costa Rica, a ceremony Harper was forced to miss to be part of BottleRock. “Their presence was hardly expected”, Harper said.

“I saw them in the crowd, and I flubbed my song because I was so taken back,” he said. “That was a very special moment, seeing everybody there. We knew a lot of people were coming but we weren’t really sure … it made me feel really good. Best part of the day.”


For Harper it only got better after that first set as he was privileged to play a second time on the coveted JaMPad.  His crowd from Truly migrated to the JaMPad, allowing him to play to another large and friendly crowd.

“The JaMPad was such a special thing for me,” he said. “JaM Cellars and Downtown Napa were the ones who got me started in Napa four years ago. They gave me my first go and I’ve been playing there for a while now.  I was happy with the Truly Stage, and then they put me on the JaMPad. That was a great full circle moment for me.”

For Jane Leo, performing in the Bay Area was a special moment, too, as the couple tied the knot in San Francisco six months ago. For Bryant, who was born and raised in Austin, this was her first visit to Napa and California’s Wine Country. Leopold, by contrast, lived in San Francisco for 10 years before moving to Austin, where his path was continually crossing Bryant’s.

“There are kind of small circles in the music community in Austin, and we had the same producer and knew of each other’s individual projects for years,” Bryant said during their exclusive conversation with The Hollywood Times. “Finally, it was ‘we should try to write a song together.’ And we started dating at the same time. So why not go all in.”

Originally from Detroit, Leopold brought a harder, grittier edge to the stage as a solo, while Bryant’s singing and songwriting tended to run toward rock with an Americana/folk vein. Leopold’s breadth of musical knowledge was something Bryant said was a gift for her.

“He’s kind of an encyclopedia of music, so meeting him just blew open the doors for me,” she said. “I had never really listened to the Ya Ya’s or The Stooges. He knew a side I think I needed to know, and it has really expanded me as a vocalist and writer.”

“It’s been really cool to combine our musical backgrounds and form Jane Leo, being able to create a character instead of just being a singer/songwriter just spilling my personal stories out there.”

(Photo: THT)

“There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a beautiful thing, but in this project, we have been able to form sides of ourselves we really didn’t know existed and test out our own boundaries. It has given me a lot of freedom as a performer and a writer to step outside of what I knew.”

Leopold agreed, pointing out he’s now writing from a different perspective than ever before. His music has taken on a more feminine perspective now that he and Bryant have teamed up.

“After writing from a strictly male perspective for 20 years, to be able to just flip to that side of things just opened the doors wide open to do whatever,” he said. “I’m not singing it, so I can say whatever, and I can say ‘go ahead’… I can put it on Jane’s plate to do the craziness that I’m throwing out there.

“I was able to get more poetic, be more obscure, and with Jane’s voice we’re listening for an anchor, and we found it. The great part is we come from totally different places. Detroit and Texas are nothing alike, there’s nothing synonymous with those places.”

Certainly, anyone who has been to those places would readily agree, and there is nothing the same about these two acts, either. Harper’s Bay Area roots set him apart from Jane Leo’s powerful and upbeat sound. But on this day in Napa Valley, Jared Harper and Jane Leo were kindred spirits, taking the stage for their first – and hopefully not last – BottleRock festival.