Posts Tagged ‘Raleigh’

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The burden of great expectations weighs heavily on American Aquarium leader B.J. Barham. He worries about overcoming the addiction-plagued ghosts of his gene pool, the small-town strictures of his home and the toil of the road. He doesn’t want to let down his bandmates or fans, his wife or family. These troubles define his lyrics, and for the first time, he sings as though he’s trying to be no one but himself. Aided by a team of imaginative producers, the band steps up, wrapping his words in a sort of art-country glow that’s afraid neither to be simple nor sophisticated. For years, the road-loving American Aquarium has been a popular, club-filling band; “Lamentations” is the first guarantee they can be a great one, too. Absolutely a heart-crushing, beautiful songs!!.

American Aquarium have always been great at catering to both the outlaw and pop side of the alt country spectrum. Lamentations takes it to the next level in terms of song writing, heartfelt relevance, and anthemic hook. The production is magnificent and BJs vocals have never sounded so crisp and gritty
released May 1st, 2020

Produced by Shooter Jennings

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Members: BJ Barham-Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Ryan Johnson-Lead Guitar, Whit Wright-Pedal Steel, Bill Corbin-Bass, Kevin McClain-Drums, Colin Dimeo-Lead Guitar

All songs written by BJ Barham
American Aquarium Music

The latest track from American Aquarium’s highly anticipated album, Lamentations, released this week. Listen and watch the moving video for “Six Years Come September”. “Lamentations” is a 10-song rumination on the current state of the world around me. I was raised in the faith and the book of Lamentations was always one that caught my attention. A broken man crying out to the heavens, asking why God sat back and let his country fall apart. Questioning the sheer existence of a higher power in the lowest of times. How could an all loving God sit back and let an entire nation’s cry for help go unanswered? I saw many parallels in that story and the current climate of this country in 2020. There are a large group of people who were promised something in 2016.

On the one hand, the newest single from alternative country band, American Aquarium, is as straightforward and unambiguous as they come. “Six Years Come September” isn’t a metaphor; the length of time in question refers to the arrival of six years of sobriety for band founder BJ Barham, since making an unintentionally permanent announcement about “never drinking again,” amid the crowd in a Texas bar.

Conversely, the song’s biggest element of significance – that the journey of getting sober doesn’t culminate in a single victory but comes with its own sets of trials – is a sentiment one could say is anything but straightforward or obvious to those outside looking in.

While the major chord resolutions from Barham’s guitar and a higher octave melody played by crisp and polished piano do give “Six Years Come September” a mildly uplifting quality, there is serious reflection and a sense of penitence unfolding in the lyrics that very subtly but effectively displays the kind of obscure adversity built into an otherwise happy looking existence staying on the wagon.

They are still waiting for those promises to be fulfilled. This is a record about the things that break people. Religion, politics, addiction, love, money, family, history. I believe it is an empathetic look at the other side. A group of stories about losing everything and still finding the will to stand back up and fight for the things that matter the most.”

BJ Barham:

Stacked with his signature storytelling, which is deeply personal and instantly relatable, the album is an introspective reflection of personal growth and change, which also touches on the current social climate in our country.

Band Members:
BJ Barham – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Shane Boeker – Lead Guitar
Adam Kurtz – Pedal Steel
Ben Hussey – Bass
Joey Bybee – Drums

From the new album ‘Lamentations,’ available May 1:

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Truth Club are the wistful, nervy relatives of indie rock’s past and present. The four-piece reconfigure the genre’s moodiest, most poignant moments into their own distinctly emotive sound. You can hear echoes of Parquet Courts and Protomartyr’s spoken-word freak-outs and jittery guitars, sensitive and catchy late-’90s alt-rock, Pavement-esque slow-burners, and some emo intonation. Their debut album, “Not An Exit”, is restless and introspective, a meditation that overflows.

Band Members
Travis + Elise + Kam + Yvonne

Truth Club “Not An Exit” out May 3rd 2019 on Tiny Engines

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Maybe this Raleigh four-piece fits more squarely in the indie rock category, but there are enough post-punk rhythms and tones to justify its place here. Truth Club’s debut album Not An Exit is full of propulsive movement, but Travis Harrington’s earnest voice and tender lyrics are firmly tethered to the ground. Their guitars pump, twinkle and echo, but never remain static for too long.

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On “Student Housing,” the guitars cascade with precision, on “No Planned Sequel,” they rumble with grit, and on “Luminescence” they hum with subtlety. In addition to their guitar mystique, Not An Exit is more poetic than most indie or post-punk records. Harrington writes with mature poignancy about topics like entrapment, belonging, purpose, desire and anxiety. “Path Render” is an affecting view of one’s life from the ether, and on “Tethering,” Harrington poses a question that will leave you in silence for a while: “If everyone’s supposed to leave their own mark on everything / At what point does the world just seem too worn out?”

Band Members
Travis + Elise + Kam + Yvonne

Truth Club “Not An Exit” out May 3rd 2019 on Tiny Engines

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Alone on the road for nearly two months, B.J Barham pieced together a different lineup, steadily accumulating ideas for new songs at the same time.

“I don’t have a side trade,” he says from his home in North Carolina, where he’s taking a rare break from the road in anticipation of his baby daughter’s birth. “I write songs, I travel around, and I play them for people. Those are the only things I’m good at. When you have a mass exodus, like five of your best friends leaving the band at the same time, you don’t have time to throw yourself a pity party. My wife didn’t let me do that, at least. She gave me a couple days of thinking, ‘Woe is me,’ and then I was back at the grind, figuring out how to put another band together. I found a group of guys who were inspired to be on the road, and that inspired me as a songwriter.”

When Barham wrapped up his solo tour and returned to North Carolina on the Fourth of July, a new lineup awaited him, along with a new muse. Things Change, his first record featuring the revised American Aquarium arrives June 1st and dives into the political rift that’s split the country into warring factions – particularly in the American South, where B.J Barham has lived his entire life.

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On the record’s kickoff single, “Tough Folks,” he traces his family’s history through years of tobacco farming, economic depression, perseverance and rebirth. Along the way, he tackles President Trump’s election, neither condemning nor condoning the people — including the 2,362,631 North Carolinians who helped vote him into office — whose views differ from his own. Like the rest of Things Change, “Tough Folks” offers hope and positivity, positioning both as antidotes for the modern-day blues.

“The whole purpose of that song is perseverance,” he explains. “Growing up, most of my town was based on agriculture. When agriculture was taken away, some people bitched about it, but some people found alternate ways of making a living and feeding their family. You’ve gotta find a way to get through it. The line I’m particularly proud of is, ‘Last November, I saw first-hand what desperation makes good people do.’ Don’t get me wrong – there are some pieces of shit that voted for [Trump] – but there’s a lot of good, working people that voted for him.

American Aquarium is
BJ Barham – Vocals, Guitar
Shane Boeker – Lead Guitar
Joey Bybee – Drums
Ben Hussey – Bass
Adam Kurtz – Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar

With special guests
Byron Berline – Fiddle
John Fullbright – Piano, Clavinet, Mellotron, Guitar, Vocals
John Moreland – Vocals
Wes Sharon – Percussion
Dan Walker – Organ, Accordion
Jamie Lin Wilson – Vocals