North Carolina’s own American Aquarium is the feature band of our first Music Monday…
American Aquarium was an easy choice for our first Music Monday feature being that the lead singer now calls our state capital home and has always been a proponent of the long leaf pine and his North Carolina roots. Originally flanked by a few North Carolinians in the band, the group has recently undergone a significant lineup shift but continues to press forward, gaining new fans and influencing others with their music on a consistent basis.
Having followed this group for over ten years we have been witness to both highs and lows along their musical journey but one constant remains – an unwavering commitment to the fans. After seeing B.J. Barham open with his band for another act and having their songs stuck in your head the following day, as opposed to the act you originally were there to see, it became quickly apparent that American Aquarium was worthy of following.
They initially gained notoriety around the Carolinas with a tireless touring schedule playing hole in the wall bars and restaurants from Blowing Rock to Statesville, the capital city of Raleigh and even homecoming shows pre-Thanksgiving in Reidsville. No matter the audience size or familiarity, Barham was going to connect with his fans and it is this persistence that expanded their fan base and led to national tours with sell outs in tow.
From humble beginnings the band now regularly visits Texas, has repeatedly played festivals like Steamboat and Medicine Stone, in addition to traveling across the pond for European tours over the past few years. Despite a rigorous tour schedule American Aquarium has also cranked out numerous albums which transcend the timeline and appeal to the current state of Barham and his feelings.
Burn. Flicker. Die. was originally intended to be the final album from the group but instead propelled them to even greater heights. Well received by both fans and critics, the album did just the opposite and allowed Barham and his band to continue touring and making a living but it came at a cost. A few years later the entire lineup would announce a shift in focus after their third “Roadtrip to Raleigh” with year four completed under Barham and an entirely new lineup behind him.
The band released another album, “Wolves” and the next is set to be released later this year and may be the best yet. “Things Change” encompasses the influences surrounding Barham and his band in addition to the personal aspects in his own life. Since Wolves, Barham has gotten sober, married and is soon expecting his first child, a daughter.
While no future tour dates are available on their website, a first in over a decade, to doubt that Barham will not be able to manage both touring and being a father is to underestimate the commitment he has to the music and his craft.
Taking a much needed and well deserved break for the first time that anyone can remember, expect Barham and his revamped band to come back stronger and better than ever. The impact on this genre of music has been made and people from around the country are taking notice.
American Aquarium is destined for great things behind Barham and their latest break will only leave fans wanting more. “Things Change” in every aspect of life, but the ability to adapt and forge a way has been a staple of Barham and his music. Telling personal tales that anyone can relate to and striking a chord among his followers, although changes are in store the foundation remains.
American Aquarium isn’t going anywhere and we can’t wait until they return full force behind a new album, lineup and reinvigorated lead singer.