Hailing from the caffeinated and artistic city of Seattle, Bryan John Appleby embodies everything one would expect from a musician from this Northwestern town: bushy beard, wool sweater, and a talent for telling stories through guitar riffs and inspired lyrics. His heady poetics and heartfelt melodies blend perfectly to create a mood to sink into. And wouldn’t you know, he was recently touring with The Head and the Heart this past month (see what I did there?), promoting his album Fire on the Vine.
Bryan John Appleby, on the surface, could be classified as a singer/songwriter who produces lovely tunes to sleep by, or even better, to listen to while coffee house slumming. But, upon closer inspection, this artist really has a knack for making the listener take an introspective look at life events. His lyrics are so visually palpable that each song takes listeners on a journey through a moment in time. He knows how to tell a story and relate it to anyone at any age. “Backseat,” one of my favorites from his new album, is told from the perspective of a man finding a stowaway passenger in the backseat of his Lincoln. I won’t tell you how it ends, but this one left me melancholy.
According to his website, Bryan John Appleby spent the first part of this year in a warehouse, jamming out song after song on any odd instrument he could find. The result of this process is a compilation of songs ranging in style from upbeat jams to pulsing ballads. He also has a unique collection of videos on his website that I highly recommend checking out. His music videos are much like his songs, simple but stunning. And in one documentary style video on the site, he discusses his lyrical inspiration and style.
I was able to catch the last song of his set at the Wiltern with the Head and the Heart last Friday, and as the last note of his guitar hung in the air, we in the audience felt a universal gratitude at being able to witness such an talented musician.
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