Tori Amos

'Bees' Knees

ToriThe entirety of Tori Amos' life, as well as a healthy appetite for researching legends, religious texts, folklore, spirituality and art, was brought to the table in making the new album "The Beekeeper," due this week via Epic.

"The concept is that there are six gardens, no different than that there are six sides to the cell in the beehive, so the hexagon shape is sort of our kind of key," Amos says. "The songs live within these six gardens [which] represent the emotional life of this woman, call her 'Tori' or a female character whose voice we hear on the album."

Although more rhythmic than the distinct Americana of her 2002 Epic debut, "Scarlet's Walk," the new set possesses a similar honeyed tone (pun intended). Accompanying Amos throughout are longtime compatriots Jon Evans (bass), Matt Chamberlain (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Mac Aladdin.

"This is more of a global record," she says. "And it's also about your personal involvement in the world and how your relationships are, not just with the outside world, but your inside world as well."

Among the 19-tracks that populate the gardens, Amos explores what she calls "original sin-suality" between male and female. The warm tones of the B3 contribute to the earthy funk of tracks such as "Sweet the Sting," and paired with a choir, the soaring gospel feel of "Witness." Other highlights include "The Power of Orange Knickers" (a duet with Damien Rice) and "Hoochie Woman."

Amos begins a solo piano tour April 1 in Clearwater, Fla.