BJ Barham – Rockingham

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


“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.”


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


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24   John Moreland – High on Tulsa Heat


John Moreland / Facebook / Twitter

23   Joey Kneiser – The Wildness


Joey Kneiser / Facebook / Twitter

22   Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete


Dave Rawlings Machine / Facebook / Twitter

21   Michael Rank & Stag – Horsehair

horsehair cover.indd

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


The Decemberists / Facebook / Twitter

18   The Unthanks – Mount The Air


The Unthanks / Facebook / Twitter

17    M Lockwood Porter – 27


Website / Facebook / Twitter

16   Eilen Jewell – Sundown Over Ghost Town


Eilen Jewell / Facebook / Twitter

15   Vanessa Peters – with the Sentimentals

Vanessa Peters - 'With The Sentimentals' - cover (300dpi)

Vanessa Peters / Facebook / Twitter

14   Lindi Ortega – Faded Gloryville


Lindi Ortega / Facebook / Twitter

13   Kristin Diable – Create Your Own Mythology

Kristin Diable / Facebook / Twitter

12   Emily Barker – The Toerag Sessions


Emily Barker / Facebook / Twitter

11   Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou – Expatriot 


Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou / Facebook / Twitter

10   Frankie Lee – American Dreamer

Frankie Lee / Facebook / Twitter

9   Lucero – All A Man Should Do


Lucero / Facebook / Twitter

8   Kathryn Williams – Hypoxia 

Kathryn Williams / Facebook / Twitter

7   Lilly Hiatt – Royal Blue

Lilly Hiatt / Facebook / Twitter

6   American Aquarium – Wolves 


American Aquarium / Facebook / Twitter

Beat Surrender – Best of 2012


Justin Townes Earle

Nothings Going to Change the Way You Feel About Me Now


Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou

La Ferme De Fontenaille


Kasey Anderson & The Honkies

Let the Bloody Moon Rise


First Aid Kit

The Lion’s Roar


American Aquarium


Alternative / Indie

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Your Heart Is a Weapon the Size of your Fist


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Late Night Lover

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