As we move past the musical halfway pole for 2018, it’s time once again to look back in the rear-view mirror and see what has wowed us the most so far. Along with some excellent albums that will go on to be considered for some of the best all year, the spring of 2018 has also revealed itself as one of the busiest release periods for in years.
American Aquarium should no longer be around. It was a marginal name to begin with, and for a band that was tough to define or find a home for, and that was built upon the concept of drugs, drinking, and the implosion of life before you’re 30. But frontman and songwriter BJ Barham was too stupid to quit.
2018 has been incredibly busy with new albums in the country and roots realm, and the 2nd half of the year looks to be just as busy. So to help you keep track of it all and perhaps help separate the wheat from thew chaff, here is a handy guide to some of the top releases to anticipate, a more expansive list of confirmed releases, and a rumor mill.
AHI, American Aquarium, Coco O'Connor, Cody Canada and The Departed, Cody Jinks, DeviDriver, Dillon Carmichael, Hank3, Jim Lauderdale, Karen Jonas, Kinky Friedman, Lori McKenna, Lucero, mmhmm, Rhyan Sinclair, Shooter Jennings, Tami Neilson, Tyler Childers, William Clark Green
Fans of American Aquarium have known the name of their upcoming album for a while. Now they have the details. This is not the situation of a band on the mend backing into an effort to survive. Arguably ‘Things Change’ sees the 12+ year project by BJ Barham just now reaching its stride.
For those who thought that the news of long-time American Aquarium members Bill Corbin and Kevin McClain leaving the clan in April meant the end of American Aquarium, they don’t know the indomitable spirit of the founder, frontman, and principal songwriter of American Aquarium, BJ Barham.
The American Aquarium lineup that most of its fans across the country and world have been used to seeing take the stage for some 10 years is no longer. This is the news coming from a series of posts on social media Sunday (4-2) ahead of frontman, singer, and songwriter BJ Barham addressing the breakup rumors officially.
Nobody’s ever accused American Aquarium or its frontman BJ Barham of not working hard enough to achieve the dream. As one of the hardest touring outfits out there, they’ve earned every dedicated fan they have by sweating it out in clubs across the country, and putting every ounce of energy into the music.
Rockingham—the first solo album from American Aquarium’s frontman and songwriter B.J. Barham—was an album that made me come to a pretty keen realization, yet it probably was not the one Barnham set out to impart. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what a song or album leaves you with as long as it leaves you with something.
Superstar pop R&B artist and producer Pharrell Williams spent the better part of last week in Nashville performing with the vocal troupe Little Big Town, and the entire time he’s been repping for an unlikely band: alt-country/Americana outfit American Aquarium.
Right now, Texas and Oklahoma is being robbed of its female talent from Nashville and the two coasts. And these women are regularly sucked up into a system that absconds with their creative freedom, sexualizes their image, and drops them unceremoniously whenever their commercial viability is perceived to be spent.
American Aquarium, Aubrie Sellers, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Bri Bagwell, Courtney Patton, Hot Club of Cowtown, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Maren Morris, Medicine Stone, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers Band, Ryan Engleman, Samantha Crain, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sister C, Stoney LaRue, Sunny Sweeney, The Quebe Sisters, Turnpike Troubadours
Reviews have been mixed for the show so far, but country music listeners may have an extra incentive to watch the program. Featured on the 10-episode series has been a slew of independent country artists who will hopefully see decent paydays and a bump in exposure. There are also ample country music references and jokes in the series.
American Aquarium, Ashley Monroe, Brandi Carlile, Cam, Corb Lund, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Netflix, Shooter Jennings, The Ranch, The Turnpike Troubadours
‘Tis the season in Texas to get out and enjoy the outdoors before the swelter of summer starts in earnest, and to support many of the charitable events that mix music with sports. For seven years, Reckless Kelly has been throwing celebrity softball tournaments to help raise funds to support youth sports programs in Central Texas, and all told the Reckless Kelly Softball Jam has raised over $300,000 since its inception.
American Aquarium, BJ Barham, Charlie Robison, Cody Braun, Cody Canada & The Departed, George Devore, Jack Ingram, Jamie Lin Wilson, John D. Hale, Kelly Mickwee, Kevin Fowler, Kyle Park, Midnight River Choir, Reckless Kelly, Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam, Shinyribs, The Peterson Brothers, The Trishas, Uncle Lucius, Whiskey Myers, William Clark Green, Willy Braun
2015 just might be the year of American Aquarium, or that’s at least the popular sentiment being kicked around in certain circles. Written and recorded after a long hiatus between releases, American Aquarium took their time with this one, letting the songs maturate, and allowing a stylistic shift in their sound to emerge, something that would hopefully get them over that hump.
Raleigh, NC’s American Aquarium was the hardest working, hardest touring band in 2014 from any genre according to the concert-finding app Bandsintown which presides over the largest database of music touring data. The announcement was made Thursday after Bandintown was able to aggregate 206 tour dates for the band in 2014—more than any other band or artist registered in their database.
Raleigh, North Carolina-based country rock band American Aquarium, and specifically their frontman, singer, and principal songwriter BJ Barham have been known to twist off about the state of country music upon occasion, both online and on stage. Such was the case on Tuesday (10-28) when the band reminisced about the time one of today’s biggest pop country acts actually opened for them.
Raleigh, North Carolina’s American Aquarium had their van and trailer stolen late last night (Wednesday, 6-25) between 1 AM and 9 AM in Indianapolis at the Wyndham Hotel on the west side of town. The band was in Indianapolis playing a show with the Turnpike Troubadours at the Old National Centre.
Willie Nelson’s private town called Luck, TX that sits on the edge of his ranch just west of Austin in the Texas Hill Country was heavily damaged in storms that moved through the area late last week. “Our beautiful Luck wasn’t so Lucky recently,” the Willie Nelson camp said in a statement, “Last week’s tornado force winds ripped several buildings apart…”
American Aquarium, Band of Brothers, Damaged, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Luck, Luck TX, Lukas Nelson, Nikki Lane, Shakey Graves, Shovels & Rope, Storm, SXSW, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, World Headquarters
Saving Country Music was out and about Austin, TX and its outskirts over the past week or so as part of the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) gathering, pounding the pavement and looking for the next country music artist worthy of your ears that you may never otherwise hear about. In the coming months I look forward to taking some of these discoveries and sharing them with you.
American Aquarium, Brooklyn Country Cantina, Hurray For The Riff Raff, J.D. Wilkes, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lukas Nelson, Mickey Raphael, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Doores, Shovels & Rope, South by Southwest, Sturgill Simpson, SXSW, The Cactus Blossoms, The Defibulators, The Deslondes, The Dirt Daubers, Tim Easton, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Lone Star Music, the Texas music cornerstone that has such good taste and cool vibes that appreciation for it’s unique approach of putting the music first spreads well past the Texas border, has just announced the nominees for their 6th Annual Lone Star Music Awards, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hit the sweet spot in showcasing many of the artists that are helping to save country music.
American Aquarium, Chris King, Cody Canada, Dave Cobb, Guy Clark, Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lincoln Durham, Lloyd Maines, Lone Star Music, Lone Star Music Awards, Nominees, Patty Griffin, Reckless Kelly, Shinyribs, Slaid Cleaves, Sturgill Simpson, Turnpike Troubadours, Will Hoge, Zane Williams
The greatest album, and the greatest recorded song will never be able to trump the truly live musical experience where music is shared in real time with both the artist and listeners. It is in this spirit that each year I assemble a list of the Best Live Performances to reinforce that as technology and the busying of life incrementally encroach upon us, we must remember that the live music show deserves its own attention and reverence.
.357 String Band, 2013, American Aquarium, Andrew Bird, Austin City Limits, Best Live Performances, Bob Wayne, Dirty River Boys, Eric Church, Gruene Hall, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jared McGovern, Jason Eady, Jason Isbell, Jayke Orvis, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lincoln Durham, Liz Sloan, Patsy Cline, Pickathon, Punch Brothers, Red 11, The Crooks, The Mavericks, The White Horse, Tift Merritt, Turnpike Troubadours, Valerie June, XSXSW
With the appeal for roots music on the rise throughout the music landscape, it’s no wonder Southern rock is making a resurgence. Where a few years ago Southern rock seemed to be all about nostalgia and/or rehashing the same old tired twangy rock guitar riffs, the sub-genre now finds itself flush with a new crop of talent bringing creativity and a fresh, more progressive approach to the format.
Alabama Shakes, American Aquarium, Austin Lucas, Blackberry Smoke, Bottle Rockets, Dexateens, Drive By Truckers, Fifth on the Floor, Glossary, Jason Isbell, Jimbo Mathus, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Leroy Powell, new Southern rock, North Mississippi All Stars, Old 97's, Shooter Jennings, Sons of Bill, Southern rock, Truth & Salvage, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Zac Brown Band
These songs are tributes to American decay, depravity, excess, and unfairness, with starkly honest lyrics not dulled one bit by subtly, or sullied by the need for explanation or imagination. Burn. Flicker. Die is not an artistic interpretation of American Aquarium’s struggles, it is a Polaroid. You’re supposed to listen to songs, and feel music. With American Aquarium, you do both.