The Doe Bay Sessions: Bryan John Appleby
Bryan John Appleby ::: photo by Josh Lovseth
It may seem counter-intuitive with the gigantic leaps some local bands have made since Doe Bay 2010, but I would say that no one has grown more or transitioned better than Bryan John Appleby. Yes, The Head and The Heart have gone from opening at Columbia City Theater to opening at Key Arena. Yes, Pickwick has gone from playing to 30 people to playing to over a thousand at the Mural. These are amazing milestones and signs of growth and success, but the changes Appleby has made over the last year have taken him from a bashful solo performer, so unsure of his songs that he had to be all but forced by friends to sing and release them, to the confident leader of a multi-faceted, multi-talented band. While other bands have become bigger over the course of the last year, Appleby has just become.
Nowhere has this transformation been more obvious than at Doe Bay, where Appleby fully embraced the openness and opportunity to expand and explore. It was Appleby and crew who spent a late night jamming as Pearl and Thomas from Champagne Champagne free-styled over them. It was Appleby who first jumped on stage to sing along with friends in Campfire OK, Kelli Schaefer, Pickwick and The Head and The Heart. And it was Appleby who decided to add an extra element to his already beautifully composed songs for our Doe Bay Session, asking Sam Anderson from Hey Marseilles, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Cataldo (and many others) to join on cello.
Watching Appleby lead and perform without a shred of self-consciousness, seeing on stage and while sitting on this mossy log, an artist in control of his craft and a musician having the time of his life, was watching a different man than I’d first seen a year prior. Doe Bay was Appleby’s coming out party, an exclamation that he’s not just an up-and-comer, but one of the Northwest’s most gifted and promising performers. Everywhere you looked, someone was wearing a Bryan John Appleby t-shirt, someone had the Fire On the Vine vinyl tucked under their arm and someone was standing in line to buy more. Appleby bears the mantle that Jurado and Bazan have carried for decades and as you’ll see below, he bears it beautifully.
Bryan John Appleby plays City Arts Fest on Friday October 21st at The Rendezvous with other Sound on the Sound favorites Sons of Warren Oates, Smokey Brights and Joseph Giant.