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Amos high on 'The Beekeeper' as her return to Salt Lake nears

Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Kevin Mackintosh

Tori Amos is looking forward to coming back to Salt Lake City.

"I love playing there," she said during a phone call from Montreal. "The audience is so passionate about music there. That's important because Salt Lake City is one of those places that has some misconceptions."

Amos has an abundance of fans here. She even scheduled two separate, sold-out concerts in one night at Abravanel Hall back in the summer of 1996.

"Salt Lake is a beautiful place to play," she said. "And I can't wait to get there this year."

Amos is on tour supporting her most recent album, "The Beekeeper," released earlier this year. The album, according to the composer, is about the unity between male and female within the teachings of early Christianity.

"I did a lot of research when making this album," Amos said. "I was intrigued by various Gnostic gospels of the Nag Hammadi Library that were discovered in Egypt in 1945."

The project was spawned by female fans expressing to Amos that they were torn when it came to their role in society.

"They told me that they felt they were being pulled in two different ways when it came to finding sacredness and sexuality," Amos said. "They said they wanted to find spirituality, but they couldn't express themselves sexually when they wanted to be spiritual."

So, while she was in the middle of her last tour, Amos tried to find, in her mind, ideas that would balance the two paths.

"That's when I came up with the 'Beekeeper,' " Amos said. "My last album, 'Scarlet's Walk,' was written with the Native American idea in mind. The guide through the songs was like a shaman. And I wanted to find a guide for my new collection of songs. And I came up with the idea of a Beekeeper."

The beekeeper holds all the elements together on this album, Amos said.

"The beekeeper brings together disparate pieces and finds balance between male and female," she said.

Amos also wanted to make a statement of how ancient Christian teachings are being twisted and warped today.

"These days, the far-right Christians are manipulating Christ's teachings to fit their own ideas and agendas. They conveniently leave things out so they can justify their thoughts and acts. They aren't using the whole teachings.

"As a minister's daughter, I wanted to get back to the essence of what Christianity is about," she said. "And I also wanted to musically symbolize the unity and balance, especially between man and woman."

That's why the piano isn't as prominent on the new album as it has been in the past.

"The piano symbolizes a woman's instrument," Amos said. "The Hammond organ represents the man. And I brought in more organ this time. I wanted the music to be a union of the man and woman."

The songs on "Beekeeper" were written through the years. One song, "Martha's Foolish Ginger," was started when she was writing her album "Boys for Pele," which was released in 1996.

"I was writing songs in 1994 and had the very beginnings to 'Martha,' " Amos said. "But I wasn't able to put the song together. It came clear to me that I needed to be out in the water to make this happen."

Fast forward to 2002. "I was on the 'Scarlet's Walk' tour and in San Francisco, and I was looking over the bay. I envisioned myself going in a boat out to the Pacific Ocean. When I went back to record 'Beekeeper,' that image was in my mind.

"I carried that image with me when I went to our house in Florida and went out in a speedboat to the ocean. The sound of the motor in the water put out a sound that became the piano part for the intro to 'Martha.' So afterward I rushed into the house and wrote the notes."

In addition to writing and recording an album in the past two years, Amos agreed to co-write an autobiography, "Tori Amos: Piece by Piece."

To do this, she contacted Ann Powers, curator of the Experience Music Project in Seattle.

"I thought why not bring someone from the outside to ask questions and put them in visceral form?" Amos said. "That's how the book came together. It came piece by piece, thus the title."

If you go

What: Tori Amos, the Ditty Bops

Where: USANA Amphitheatre, 5200 S. 6400 West

When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $30 - $56

Phone: 467-8499 or 800-888-8499