The story of Bee Appleseed sounds like a fable: a tumultuous youth spent in Oregon; three years as a vagabond musician subsisting via “divine channels” as he trekked to some 50 countries; friends old and new helping him push forward his psychedelic folk-rock; a life-changing encounter with a Native American shaman; and, finally, making Los Angeles the home base for his ministrations.
“I have played on the streets, farms, boats, national television and radio, in bars, pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants, hotels, hostels, record shops, living rooms, banquet halls, squats, theaters, concert halls, cultural centers, wine cellars, bike shops, festivals, parks, a castle, a fortress, a lingerie store, a French rehearsal space, a German art space, a Portuguese tattoo parlor, a Belgian painting class, a Czech Roman-style courtyard, an Italian central square, a Chilean amphitheater, an Albanian former train station, a Bosnian mediation center, a Montenegran elementary school, a German punk rock trailer, and for every type of person imaginable — all to varying degrees of appreciation,” Appleseed said in 2018 before releasing his aptly titled album “Backpacker Blues.”
His follow-up album, “Starflower’s Cosmic Soul,” was recorded in Portland with a 15-piece band — the intro notes that the “candlelit recording sessions [were] heavily smudged with incense [to] set a tone of sacred ambiance for the album’s conception” — and references the time the singer-songwriter/poet/actor spent with a Native American healer on a farm near San Luis Obispo. (Not to spoil the 1960s feel of the storyline, but the connection was made via the Couchsurfing app.) Appleseed says he experienced a spiritual awakening.
The rollicking new single “I Was Dreaming” stokes it feel-good fires with bursts of horns, jangling guitars, Appleseed’s swaggering singing and guest vocals from L.A. singer-songwriter Nora Keyes. It brings to mind Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros — a charismatic singer bringing his dream to life via song, inviting the inevitable communal sing-along. It’s a trippy tune from a guy who’s been on a few, and maybe has more in his future.
“Starflower’s Cosmic Soul” is out Feb. 21.
||| Stream: “I Was Dreaming”
||| Also: Watch the video for “Another Time”
||| Also: Stream the 2018 album “Backpacker’s Blues”