Bryan John Appleby crafts thoughtful, melodic music about complicated relationships and desires, from his home in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The singer-songwriter path is well-trod in every city, and Seattle is no different, but Bryan sets his music on a higher plane with the incisively intelligent way that he can wrap words around a tenuous moment. He said in an interview, “I write my best when I’m reading lots of books and listening to lots of bands and songwriters.” I think that comes through in his music, with a variety of historical, literary, spiritual, and relational groundings. It’s no wonder I fell for him.
My first listens of this song reminded me of the best, most achingly open parts of Blind Pilot songs. This is a song about the tension and the gulf between wanting someone and actually having them. There is SO much raw vulnerability in the way Bryan sings “not one good reason left to keep me / but please don’t let me go.” I am reminded of the old adage about how we need love the most when we deserve it the least.
Every line in this song seems to strip something in me bare, like when he sings, “I am roaming through the darkness, I am rambling through the night / I will find you soon my darling, be sure and hold the light.” Have you read No Country for Old Men? If so, this reminds me of the last page.
Fixin to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold….
Cliffs Along The Sea – Bryan John Appleby
[so pretty that you should watch it larger]
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Bryan perform live last Friday night at the High Dive in Seattle, with a full backing band. The words I used afterwards were: “decimatingly muscular.” KEXP’s Hannah Levin called him “One To Watch” in the Seattle Weekly last summer, and finally getting to see him live myself, I completely agree. As well-crafted and piercing as the EP is, hearing the new material and seeing how his songs catalyze and explode in the live setting got me very excited for his upcoming full-length release, Fire On The Vine.
Bryan just launched a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to help fund the final steps of this new album. The songs are done being recorded, and he just needs advance commitment from folks who want to have it when it is released (on vinyl too!). As a refresher: Kickstarter is a rad way for lovers of music to commit in advance to the album that is yet to come, and in doing so get some sweet perks (a mixtape from Bryan! a handwritten letter! a personalized cover!).
I recommend you support this worthy artist who has something true and beautiful to say.
Also, hey — he’ll be playing at the Doe Bay Fest in August, for those of us who are lucky enough to be heading to Orcas Island! So get excited.