The internet is full of video sessions where artists are put in out of the ordinary settings to play a few songs, but I don’t think any strikes me as more original and interesting than The Classroom Sessions. These sessions take place in a Lawrence, KS high school classroom, where an artist is invited in to perform and talk about their craft while the students film them. If it seems like a pretty awesome idea that’s cause it is, and the end product, the edited and produced videos by the class, are just spectacular. It’s hard not to feel insanely envious of the young people that get to participate in these sessions with great musicians- nothing in my high school was nearly this cool.
The latest artist to visit the classroom for a session was Bryan John Appleby, one of my favorite songwriters and creator of one the best records this year. I’ve always been fascinated by what drives my favorite artists to pen the songs they do, and throughout the 5 engrossing videos of the session we get a glimpse into what makes Appleby tick as a songwriter. We find out about his religious upbringing and what exactly the revelation is that’s hinted at throughout Fire on the Vine. We learn about his songwriting process and his attraction to thrift store art as a muse. And, in my favorite video of the bunch, we learn that Appleby is most proud of the astounding ‘Boys’ because he feels it’s his most original composition. The cumulative effect of his stories and insights is a deeper appreciation for Appleby and his record and the feeling that the best lay ahead for him.
If you haven’t checked out Bryan John Appleby yet, you need to make sure to go and buy Fire on the Vine immediately. Again, it’s the best thing I’ve heard this year and it just gets better with each listen. Make sure you head over to the Room 125 Productions site and check out the past sessions they’ve done with The Head and The Heart, Kelli Schaefer, Nathaniel Rateliff and Damien Jurado– the class has done amazing work on each session and all are more than worth your time. Enjoy.