American Aquarium Shares Details of New Album “Chicamacomico”
Alright, enough farting around. BJ Barham and American Aquarium releasing 80’s and 90’s country cover songs through their Slappers, Banger, and Certified Twangers series was fun while it lasted. But serious times call for serious music, and who better to unabashedly tackle the troubling times of turmoil and loss we live in than American Aquarium?
Named after a former life-saving station built in 1874 on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Chicamacomico will be the North Carolina-based band’s ninth studio record, and they promise that this one will not necessarily be the rancorous country rock affair of some of their previous records, but put the songwriting out front. This is facilitated by bringing producer Brad Cook on board, who produced BJ Barham’s stripped-down 2016 album Rockingham, as well as the band’s 2015 album Wolves.
“When you are young, you want to play everything loud and fast and I think that comes, at least in part, from uncertainty,” says BJ Barham. “I hadn’t fully found my voice back in those early days so the louder and faster the songs were the less chance someone could actually hear what I was saying. The more comfortable I got with my ‘voice,’ the more confident I became in my lyrical ability. I’m not afraid of the lyrics sitting way out front anymore because I am confident in the songwriting. The band can still cut loose and take over a song, but they aren’t expected to do all the heavy lifting these days.”
Very much inspired by personal events, BJ recounts the loss of his mother in the Chicamacomico track “The First Year,” while “The Things We Lost Along The Way” ponders the passage of time, and how things are slowly taken from you. Another song “Waking Up The Echoes” is about the suicide of a close friend. Now perhaps it makes more sense why the album was coined after a strangely-named rescue station on Hatteras.
“When these massive life changes happen, we feel like we are the only ones facing these problems,” BJ continues. “Talking about them openly, giving them a name and dragging them into the light makes them seem a little less daunting, a little more conquerable. I hope this album serves as a salve to anyone who has experienced this sort of loss over the last few years. I hope it makes them feel a little less isolated and disconnected. I want them to know that someone out there is going through the exact same shit and that they are not alone.”
Ahead of the album, American Aquarium has released the song “All I Needed.” Co-written with Carl Anderson and featuring harmonies from Patterson Hood, BJ Barham says its about how just hearing a random song on the radio can completely change your perspective on the day … “The kind of song that reaches deep down into your belly and pulls something out of you. A laugh. A cry. A scream. This is a simple song about the universally healing power of music.”
Recorded at the Sonic Ranch just outside of El Paso, Chicamacomico will be released on June 10th. It is now available for pre-order, including CDs for only $5.00.
2. Little Things
3. Just Close Enough
4. The First Year
5. Built to Last
7. The Things We Lost Along the Way
8. Waking Up the Echoes
9. The Hardest Thing
10. All I Needed
April 15, 2022 @ 10:55 am
personally this album is coming out at a time i feel like a lot of songs are gonna hit me hard. looking forward to it.
April 15, 2022 @ 11:05 am
I loved their last album and I am really looking forward to this.
April 15, 2022 @ 12:48 pm
Saw the acoustic version at Slim’s for RTR weekend.
Get ready for your heart to be stomped on.
April 15, 2022 @ 1:16 pm
My fave band and I can’t wait for this one. Hell yes.
April 15, 2022 @ 1:36 pm
It’s gonna be hard to beat (Lamentations) Me and Mine, for me. That is one of the most profound songs I’ve ever heard and I, at 74, have been listening to songs for a long, long time.
He has 2 versions on you tube… one just him and a guitar on a stool that blows away the studio/video production. So much emotion you can’t help but feel it. The studio/video production is good… but, the latter is the best.
Cool Lester Smooth
April 15, 2022 @ 2:09 pm
Lamentations was one of those albums that sticks to your ribs.
High hopes for this one.
April 15, 2022 @ 2:41 pm
Wow, love the song, I am going to be a big fan of this group, first time I have heard of them and I am a fan, cannot wait to get this album, and will get their past music as well.
April 16, 2022 @ 6:35 am
The Cook brothers have been responsible for the ruination of a lot of good roots music in this state for a while now. If the Piedmont has a version of the Nashville Sound, it’s definitely the post-Megafaun/Bon Iver gentrified hipster strings suite. I’m sure the songs will be good, but the production is a bad sign in my book.
April 25, 2022 @ 11:55 am
I’m not sure exactly what you mean but it sounds right. Bon Iver is a good call for pinpointing this particular kind of sound. He isn’t country.
Wilson Pick It
April 16, 2022 @ 10:41 am
I never cared much for this band until Slappers, Bangers, and Certified Twangers. I thought those two records were great, and I like that they weren’t taking themselves so seriously.
Wilson Pick It
April 16, 2022 @ 11:08 am
Forgot to mention, I like this new song. 👍
April 16, 2022 @ 10:43 am
this song rocks!
April 16, 2022 @ 12:22 pm
Never listened to this band.
Where should I start?
April 16, 2022 @ 4:51 pm
“Wolves” is my go to album. That, along with their more recent live album and “Burn. Flicker. Die.” got me hooked. I prefer those albums and everything that has come since then over the older albums, not they they are bad. BJ’s solo album is also very, very good.
April 18, 2022 @ 6:13 am
Not disagreeing with Crum, Wolves is a good record. I would alternate with a newer release and them go back or vice-versa. I would start with either Lamentations (2020)or Things Change (2018) and then hit Woves (2015) or Dances For the Lonely (2009). Losing Side of 25 from Wolves was one of the first songs I heard by AA and I was hooked. For what it is worth, AA is currently my favorite band so I may not have the proper perspective. The keep growing on me and I have seen them five times in the past three years.
April 25, 2022 @ 11:51 am
I don’t like their image. Not for me. You think Tubb wouldve let the boys on stage in dumbass red sneakers or rolled up jean cuffs? I think not!!!!!!!
Seriously though could someone please draw a line for me that connects this kind of thing / Red Dirt / TT stuff to country music? Does this line include Brucey Brucey, The Band, The Eagles, CCR or Bob Dylan (all not country) to get there?
April 25, 2022 @ 12:42 pm
I guess the closest line would be the fact that American Aquarium just released two volumes of classic country music covers. That said, American Aquarium has never claimed to be “country.” They would be the first to tell you they’re not. It’s alt. country/Americana, with a steel guitar in the band, and Southern themes to many of their songs.
April 25, 2022 @ 5:05 pm
Oh I had no idea they were primarily known for those recent cover albums and that’s what they’re known for as far as being a country band.
You know I forgot all about Americana existing. That would explain some of it. Im being genuine in my wondering. I’m geographically far removed from those places so that’s probably why I don’t get it and where it’s coming from. As much as I dislike the sound it all does seem to have sprouted up quite organically I suppose. Thanks for clarifying! The term Americana didn’t even pop into my head. There is lots of room in there so I guess it just goes to show how nebulous a term it is.