American Aquarium Announces New Album “The Fear of Standing Still”

For nearly 20 years now, American Aquarium and frontman BJ Barham have been a mostly rock band graciously accepted into Americana, Texas/Red Dirt, and independent country due to the quality of the songs, and the chest-pounding power of their live performances. That’s why the announcement of a new album comes as welcome news from the Raleigh, North Carolina-based band.

The Fear of Standing Still out July 26th will be the second album the group has recorded with producer Shooter Jennings after the band’s 2020 album Lamentations. American Aquarium also released the more understated and acoustic Chicamacomico that received high acclaim. But the new one recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles promises to have a bit more grit and snarl, without shorting on the songwriting.

“For us the sweet spot is when you’ve got a rock band that makes you scream along to every word, and it’s not until you’re coming down at three a.m. that you realize those words are saying something real about your life,” says BJ Barham. “That’s what made us fall in love with music in the first place, and that’s the goal in everything we do.”

You hear this come to life in the lead single from the album called “Crier,” which Saving Country Music singled out as a “killer” song when seeing American Aquarium play live earlier this year. Co-written by Stephen Wilson Jr., it shows the kind of incisive insight Barham brings to his songs.

“I wanted to send the message that it’s not natural to bottle everything up inside, because all of us are meant to feel,” Barham says, “It’ll make them want to dance and jump around, and then when they put the headphones on and listen a little closer to the lyrics, that’s when they’ll start to understand what we’re talking about.”

Joined by guitarist Shane Boeker, pedal-steel guitarist Neil Jones, keyboardist Rhett Huffman, drummer Ryan Van Fleet, and bassist Alden Hedges, you can expect The Fear of Standing Still to be more of a rock affair. But they always deliver a few country moments and sounds in there as well. The song is what dictates the sound. And if you know BJ Barham, you also know he’s not one to keep opinions to himself.

Barham tackles the complexity of the Southern identity on the song “Southern Roots” co-written with Katie Pruitt about being proud from the South, but wanting to be able to remain proud for what it stands for, and where it’s headed. He also tackles the complex and timely issue of abortion in the song “Babies Having Babies.”

But there will also be more sentimental moments in songs like “Cherokee Purples” that Barham was inspired to write while making a tomato sandwich, and “The Curse of Growing Old” inspired after a talk with his 92-year-old grandmother.

“All I really want to do is put words to the emotions that most people have a difficult time expressing on their own,” Barham says. “No matter what that emotion is, when you put it into a song and then get to those moments when a whole bunch of people are singing that song all together, it makes you see that you’re part of something bigger than you ever realized. That’s when you can really affect people’s lives, and to me this record is another stepping stone to making that a reality.”

The Fear of Standing Still is now available for pre-save and pre-order.


1. Crier
2. Messy As A Magnolia
3. Cherokee Purples
4. The Getting Home
5. Southern Roots (feat. Katie Pruitt)
6. The Curse of Growing Old
7. The Fear of Standing Still
8. Piece By Piece
9. Babies Having Babies
10. Head Down, Feet Moving

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