The Annotated Appleby

A few possessions say a lot about Bryan John Appleby’s music.

A. In 2005, Appleby lived in his Volvo for six months while working in Monterey Bay. He bought this guitar with the money he saved, despite the fact that he only played drums. He didn’t start playing guitar in earnest until 2010.

B. This tome contains woodblock typography created from 1850 to 1907, a nod to Appleby’s interest in hand-painted signage. This aesthetic helped make the packaging for his debut album, Fire on the Vine, one of the most artful of the year.

C. Appleby and his girlfriend Annie use this typewriter, a thrift-store find, to write notes to each other and postcards to far-off friends. He prefers to write lyrics for his contemplative folk tunes with pen and paper.

D. Hollowed out by a friend, this biography of JKF is where Appleby keeps his cash, though he does have a bank account. “I don’t keep it all under the mattress,” he says. “I’m not that old-timey.”

E. For inspiration, Appleby surrounds himself with a combination of his own discoveries and familial items, like these boats that once belonged to his grandfather. “I never want to conjure an experience that is not related to who I am,” Appleby says. “I don’t like it when Northwest bands write about the South.”

F. Much of the literature that surrounds Appleby is historical fiction. “The first novel I read after high school that I really loved was East of Eden,” he says.

Photo by Dylan Priest.

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