Tag Archives: American Aquarium

BJ Barham – Rockingham

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Rockingham is the solo debut album from American Aquarium frontman BJ Barham, the album takes it title from the North Carolina county where he was born and spent his formative years, despite the title the album is not an autobiographical affair, with the exception of one track Madeline written for his daughter, instead Barhams fictional characters and stories reflect and take inspiration from his hometown.

“This is the first record I’ve ever made that’s not autobiographical—it’s fictional narrative in a very real place,” Barham says. “These songs are human condition stories set in my hometown, Reidsville.”

The video for the title track is set in Barhams hometown Reidsville, and included shots of his parents’ front porch and a tobacco barn where he worked as a teenager.

Adopting troubadour mode and drawing back from the rock ‘n’ roll roots music of American Aquarium the album inception was borne of an experience while touring with the alt-country band in Europe, the band were playing in Belgium at the time of the awful tragedy in Paris on the Friday the 13 of November, when gunmen and suicide bombers ran riot in the city leaving 130 people dead and many more injured and scarred physically and mentally for life.

“The onslaught of text messages, voicemails and everything that came in the next day sparked something in me,” Barham remembers. “In the next two days, the entire record was written.”

On his return to the US Barham kept the momentum of the album going and teamed up with the co-producer of American Aquarium’s album Wolves Bradley Cook, Cook’s brother Phil, Kyle Keegan and American Aquarium’s Ryan Johnson and Whit Wright to rehearse and record the album in just over a week at Durham NC Overdub Lane.

BJ Barham – Road To Nowhere

I like this album, like it a lot, of it’s type I’m struggling to recall an album as good as this one, though I have one reservation, because I love American Aquarium too and I’m hoping Barham has no need to choose between solo and band recordings only anytime soon.

If you’d like to hear songs from the album up close and personal BJ is in the UK this month and has these dates lined-up:

16-Jul Truck Festival, Oxford

18-Jul The Bicycle Shop, Norwich

19-Jul The Albert, Brighton

20-Jul Gullivers, Manchester

21-Jul The Chattery, Swansea

22-Jul The Borderline, London

The album was funded through a successful Pledge campaign and will be released in the UK by At The Helm Records on July the 22nd coinciding with the London show,

BJ. Barham / Facebook / Twitter

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“This is just an outlet for a songwriter. It’s me being able to do something different. This is like people who love their jobs, picking up hobbies,” says Barham, “This is an exercise for myself.”

BEST OF 2015 – SINGER-SONGWRITER, FOLK, COUNTRY & AMERICANA #25 to #6

25   Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’

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Daniel Romano / Facebook / Twitter

24   John Moreland – High on Tulsa Heat

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John Moreland / Facebook / Twitter

23   Joey Kneiser – The Wildness

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Joey Kneiser / Facebook / Twitter

22   Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete

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Dave Rawlings Machine / Facebook / Twitter

21   Michael Rank & Stag – Horsehair

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Michael Rank & Stag / Facebook / Twitter

20   The Barker Band – The Land We Hold Dear

The Barker Band / Facebook / Twitter

19   The Decemberists – What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

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The Decemberists / Facebook / Twitter

18   The Unthanks – Mount The Air

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The Unthanks / Facebook / Twitter

17    M Lockwood Porter – 27

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Website / Facebook / Twitter

16   Eilen Jewell – Sundown Over Ghost Town

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Eilen Jewell / Facebook / Twitter

15   Vanessa Peters – with the Sentimentals

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Vanessa Peters / Facebook / Twitter

14   Lindi Ortega – Faded Gloryville

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Lindi Ortega / Facebook / Twitter

13   Kristin Diable – Create Your Own Mythology

Kristin Diable / Facebook / Twitter

12   Emily Barker – The Toerag Sessions

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Emily Barker / Facebook / Twitter

11   Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou – Expatriot 

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Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou / Facebook / Twitter

10   Frankie Lee – American Dreamer
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Frankie Lee / Facebook / Twitter

9   Lucero – All A Man Should Do

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Lucero / Facebook / Twitter

8   Kathryn Williams – Hypoxia 

Kathryn Williams / Facebook / Twitter

7   Lilly Hiatt – Royal Blue

Lilly Hiatt / Facebook / Twitter

6   American Aquarium – Wolves 

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American Aquarium / Facebook / Twitter

Beat Surrender – Best of 2012

Singer-songwriter

Justin Townes Earle

Nothings Going to Change the Way You Feel About Me Now

Folk

Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou

La Ferme De Fontenaille

Rock

Kasey Anderson & The Honkies

Let the Bloody Moon Rise

Americana

First Aid Kit

The Lion’s Roar

Alt-country

American Aquarium

Burn.Flicker.Die

Alternative / Indie

Lux Lisbon

Your Heart Is a Weapon the Size of your Fist

EP

Rachel Brooke

Late Night Lover

American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die

BurnFlickerDie-American Aquarium

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new album from American Aquarium and was an early sign-up to the bands Kickstarter campaign that launched back in November of last year, the album officially gets released on August 28th but I’ve being lucky enough to get a heads-up copy from the bands PR folks and I can report back it’s a real killer release and is bound to figure on the end-of-year best-of lists.

Those familiar with some of the bands earlier releases, all of which I heartily recommend (but if you have to pick one go for Dances for the Lonely) will know the band can mix it with the very best alt-country barroom bands, on this release though they distil the passion and pain, love, loss, the highs, the lows and in-betweens (tenuous link) of a band living the rock ‘n’ roll dream at the dark end of the street.

Recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with Beat Surrender favourite Jason Isbell producing and featuring guest appearances from the legendary Spooner Oldham & Amanda Shires, it’s a real treat to listen start-to-finish, the band from Raleigh, North Carolina have released their finest album yet and I really hope this one, their sixth in six years gains them a wider audience.

Fuelled by fans, powered by Ryan Johnson (Lead Guitar), Whit Wright (Pedal Steel), Bill Corbin (Bass), Kevin McClain (Drums) and steered by the barroom bard frontman BJ Barham – long may they burn the candle at both ends.

Burn.Flicker.Die = Shake.Rattle.Roll

American Aquarium – Abe Lincoln

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American Aquarium