Live Review: American Aquarium in Winston-Salem, 10-12-2018

American Aquarium proved that ‘Things Change’ with a near hometown show over the weekend…

American Aquarium lead singer B.J. Barham stepped to the stage backed by his new ensemble for the first time in a while at The Ramkat in Winston-Salem. Having formerly played the venue, then known as Ziggy’s, there have been numerous changes to the event space leaving Barham to comment that, “it was nice having a venue ran by music lovers.”

On the heels of a cancelled show to open the NC State Fair in Raleigh, American Aquarium played a free show at The Pour House on Thursday night. The site of numerous AA shows and album release parties, in addition to being where Barham and his wife wed, it was packed with 300-plus patrons eager to see the band perform.

Despite a disappointing cancellation, the excitement from a show where he now calls home (Raleigh) was carried west to Winston-Salem, just a few miles from Barham’s hometown of Reidsville. At one point in the evening, Barham was sharing the backstory of Crooked and Straight, saying no one knew him when he was a kid – to which one audience member yelled, “I did”.

Barham debuted a Fender electric guitar for the first time at The Pour House and brought the new ride with him to Winston-Salem. Pulling it out for the second song of the evening, Tough Folks, Barham proved that while “things change,” his band, what he plays, the venue – critical constants remain.

Whether in 2012 or 2018, American Aquarium is going to provide a wonderfully entertaining show. Experiencing a roller coaster of emotions from the deeply passionate, hard life lessons, bitter breakups, to a more promising time, the songs represent a sliver of the transformation Barham has taken as an individual over the past decade.

Dedication, determination and an appreciation for his fans – Barham stayed late after his set to shake hands and express his gratitude for those willing to spend their Friday night with him – in addition to seeing a few familiar faces.

One group of patrons even broke into their own rendition of PBR Promenade immediately after American Aquarium left the stage without the song making into their set. Not just the chorus, these guys knew it from start to finish.

Continuing to thrive behind their latest album, Things Change, the first with a new lineup, American Aquarium displayed their ability to connect with an audience and prove their shows are not to be missed – then, now, or ever.

FULL SETLIST 10/12/2018

The World Is On Fire
Tough Folks
Casualties
St. Mary’s
Losing Side of Twenty-Five
Wolves
One Day At A Time
Jacksonville
Crooked + Straight
Betting Man
Lonely Ain’t Easy
Louisiana Beauty Queen
Hurricane
I Hope He Breaks Your Heart
Unfortunate Kind (solo)
Katherine Belle
Rockingham

Mile 0 Fest: What to Know Before You Go

For both those that attended the inaugural Mile 0 Fest and everyone else who missed out but is looking at not making the same mistake again…

If you missed the inaugural Mile 0 Fest held in Key West, Florida last year but know anyone who attended, then you’ve likely seen the pictures and heard stories about what transpired – a well ran and flawlessly executed festival on a number of different levels. An epic musical lineup in paradise, paired with opportunities no other festival can duplicate and next year is going to be even better.

Passes and packages (Platinum-SOLD OUT, Gold, Pirate and Beach Bum) for 2019 are on sale beginning next Monday, July 16 and whether you remain on the fence about attending this year or are already booked, we offer the following advice based on attendance from last year and changes that have already been announced or are being offered for this year’s experience.

DATES: January 29 – February 2, 2019

Last year the festival was a four day event that has been extended to include part of Tuesday (1/29) this year. An additional half-day of action so attendees need to make certain their travel plans include arriving early enough to help kick-off the festivities in Key West.

LINEUP:

Already receiving rave reviews, another stacked lineup across the board is only going to grow as the event draws closer. Expect multiple other artists to be added, including FOUR MORE THIS WEEK before tickets go on sale! Last year the event covered six stages with 50-plus artists and 71 shows – this year Mile 0 Fest will host 10-plus stages, 60-70 artists and over 100 shows!

TRANSPORTATION: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (even boats!)

Key West is best reached by air but flights in and out of the small island are limited and often expensive. Other possibilities include Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, but will require either renting a vehicle or taking the bus on a near four-hour trip through the keys down US Hwy. 1. The good news is there is plenty to see and do along the way but the narrow road often allows for only two-way traffic and can be backed up at times. The Key West Express can make reaching the festival even more fun from Ft. Myers if you prefer to view the keys from out on the water.

Once in Key West, all Mile 0 Fest package holders will have access to a trolley with select stops near Duval Street (main street in KW), the Amphitheater and other related stages and accommodations. Some parking is available for golf carts and cars at the Amphitheater stage but one of the best ways to get around Key West is on foot. If you prefer, there are plenty of golf cart and scooter rental places available, in addition to bicycles, which can be extremely beneficial as parking is limited everywhere – remember, it’s a small island.

UBER and Taxis also service Key West, plus public transportation which can be beneficial if staying closer to the airport.

WHERE TO STAY: Mile 0 Fest Has You Covered

Platinum packages and passes are already SOLD OUT due to the ability of those who attended last year to commit early but the remaining available options provide the best in terms of accommodations. Your individual booking representative can help to ensure you receive the best possible room(s) in addition to adding extra days onto either end of your trip (recommended).

If not utilizing the packages available, anywhere on or near Duval St. can provide a location in close proximity to both the Amphitheater Stage and many of the other venues associated with Mile 0 Fest. Also, don’t forget non-traditional bookings which can be provided via VRBO or Airbnb – some of these even allow for individuals or groups to stay on boats which owners rent throughout the year.

WHAT TO PACK: Relax, it’s Key West

Sunscreen, comfortable shoes and a portable phone charger – what more do you need? There are opportunities for swimming at any of the few Key West beaches (Smathers Beach, Fort Taylor State Park, or Southernmost Beach Resort) but unless you’re planning to soak up the sun or take an excursion requiring swimwear – it’s basically optional. A light jacket or long sleeve shirt is recommended because once the sun goes down it can get a little chilly on the island. The charger will be put to good use after all the photos and videos of both Key West, in general, and the musical performances held both day and night.

If you forget anything, there are plenty of stores on the island – big name, local and in between to meet any need.

WHERE TO EAT: Decisions, decisions, decisions…

This is too broad a topic with so many delicious places to choose from which will be given its due diligence closer to festival time. However, there will be food trucks and vendors on-site at the Amphitheater Stage (all were delicious and well priced last year) plus many of the other venues provide food which is also great!

MOST IMPORTANT: Still not convinced?

If you are thinking at all about attending, decide before passes go on sale because they will go quickly and single-day passes are not yet (and may not be) an option this year. The only way to guarantee your spot is to purchase it once they become available on Monday (7/16).

Everyone is on vacation, artists and patrons alike which provides for a unique atmosphere at every show you attend. You may have an opportunity to purchase a drink for your favorite musician or even spend the day with them snorkeling and parasailing while completing one of the many optional FURY provided excursions.

Mile 0 Fest also provides multiple opportunities for individuals to assist with various charities throughout the event. A Fishing Derby, Artist Painting and Guitar Auctions are all options where patrons can take part and help contribute to the Red Dirt Relief Fund, Michelle Halpern Foundation and Bahama Village Music Program, which a few of the artists themselves assist while visiting the island.

Music takes place from 10:00am until near 2:00am daily, meaning those extra days you tack onto your trip will be useful if you’re not an early riser who can explore the island before shows begin as there is plenty to see and do. From Ernest Hemingway, Shel Silverstein, Maritime Museums, Truman Little White House, Southernmost Point to Jimmy Buffett – Key West offers so much to keep you entertained and Mile 0 Fest added a four-plus day event to spotlight Red Dirt and Americana music on top of it – a match literally made in paradise.

It’s a vacation, trip, festival, etc. unlike any other but it’s also important to remember that it’s the people of Key West and those in attendance, working and responsible for putting on the event, who make it special. A boutique festival with another incredibly talented lineup ensures all of the music heard throughout the week will be spectacular, so have fun, meet new people, take care of your bar tenders and enjoy one of the best times you’ll have all year – guaranteed.

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, April 5-7

The weekend starts a day early this week with a Thursday night show in Charlotte…

April is here and as the weather warms up so too is the concert calendar across North Carolina. This weekend is highlighted by another visit from a Texas artist in addition to an album release party from one of North Carolina’s own.

Kicking off an epic tour, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are definitely a band you do not want to miss. On the rise, “Years” the groups second album arrives on Friday. In addition, there are a variety of other options available for your listening pleasure and many groups have two dates, so you don’t have to worry about making any difficult decisions – simply go to shows both nights – or all three if you start early.

There are plenty of options to choose from, so get out and support live music this weekend in North Carolina!

THURSDAY – APRIL 5, 2018

Travis Meadows – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Meadows isn’t just waxing poetic about the perks of self-acceptance. The 52-year-old has clawed his way to the peace he’s found, and his willingness to map that journey through his songs has saved more lives than his own. On his anxiously awaited new album First Cigarette, Meadows proves once again that when he sings the truth he’s living, he can set us all free. “I’ve always put secrets in my records, but I had this ring of fire that nobody could get in––a defense mechanism from my childhood. Nobody gets too close,” he says. “I think this record is a way of me letting people in a little more, inside the ring of fire.”

Jack Ingram – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Throughout a recording career that has spanned more than 20 years, Jack Ingram has maintained a reputation for uncompromising, personally charged song craft and energetic, charismatic performances, earning him prominent stature in a prestigious tradition of iconoclastic singer-songwriters. Ingram’s prior work has won him a fiercely devoted fan base as well as reams of critical acclaim, and now Midnight Motel marks a creative milestone for the veteran artist, his sound ever evolving while showcasing some of his most expressive, emotionally raw songwriting to date.

FRIDAY – APRIL 6, 2018

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro

When Sidelong, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers’ debut album, was released in early 2017, it quickly earned kudos for its blast of fresh, fierce honesty and sly wit. It was a welcome new voice in a genre too often mired in the staid and conventional. And while that record may have come to many as a surprise, 2018’s follow-up, Years, solidifies the point: Sarah Shook & the Disarmers have moved from getting people’s attention to commanding it.

Scooter Brown Band – Annex Plaza, Winston-Salem

After 4 years and 3 months, 2 tours overseas with 1 tour of combat in Iraq as a United States Marine, Scott Brown traded his guns in for guitars and hit the road. The Scooter Brown Band was formed in 2005 and played mainly in and around Houston, Texas. It wasn’t until 2009 with the release of their first studio album, “Between Hell & Texas,” that they gained a notable presence in the Texas music scene.

SATURDAY – APRIL 7, 2018

Steve Hartsoe – Motorco Music Hall, Durham

For this veteran rocker, a former AP journalist and college pitcher turned husband and father, that all-in conviction is an audible thread running through the 15 tracks on the Raleigh, N.C., artist’s latest indie release, “The Big Fix-Deluxe Edition,” released Dec. 1, 2017. After almost two decades removed from writing, recording and performing his own songs, Hartsoe is again singing about the daily of life — its troubles, joys and all the in-between. But this time he has a lot more life experience to sing about.

Chris Knight – Motorco Music Hall, Durham

Kentucky based singer-songwriter with a rich history in both although he didn’t start performing until he was 30 years old. Now a popular name in Americana music, Knight has released multiple albums in his career.

Sarah Shook and the Disarmers – Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte

Another opportunity to celebrate the release of Years.

Scooter Brown Band – Crown Theatre, Fayetteville

A second chance to see them this weekend.


Enjoy the shows, take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, March 30-31

You can’t go wrong this weekend, no matter which show you decide to attend…

After two relatively slow weekends for live music, March is going out like a lion with a wealth of opportunity. While a majority of the shows are located in the state’s capital, options remain available in western and central North Carolina.

Two rare shows are happening with visits from Texas native Sunny Sweeney and Georgia artist Brent Cobb. Both songwriters have enjoyed success on various levels while maintaining a commitment to quality music.

Opening for Sweeney will be North Carolina’s own Jonathan Parker, one of many native artists performing this weekend so get out and enjoy a live show from potentially local talent!

FRIDAY – MARCH 30, 2018

Pistol Hill – Shooters Lounge, Hickory

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists within the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Brent Cobb – The Pour House, Raleigh

Brent Cobb didn’t set out to write an album that feels and sounds like the place he grew up. But now that the grooves have been cut in his debut LP, Shine on Rainy Day, there’s no denying the people, the places and the vibe of his southcentral Georgia home infuse almost every song.

Nathan Kornegay – Deep South Bar, Raleigh

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

Steve Hartsoe – Deep South Bar, Raleigh

For this veteran rocker, a former AP journalist and college pitcher turned husband and father, that all-in conviction is an audible thread running through the 15 tracks on the Raleigh, N.C., artist’s latest indie release, “The Big Fix-Deluxe Edition,” released Dec. 1, 2017. After almost two decades removed from writing, recording and performing his own songs, Hartsoe is again singing about the daily of life — its troubles, joys and all the in-between. But this time he has a lot more life experience to sing about.

SATURDAY – MARCH 31, 2018

The Black Lillies – The Ramkat, Winston-Salem

The Black Lillies have never backed down from a challenge: proudly independent since their formation, they are always pushing forward and evolving, letting the inspiration and music take focus. That drive has led them to become one of Americana’s biggest success stories: an internationally-renowned band of roots-rockers, armed with songs that blur the boundaries between folk, soul, red dirt country, blues and rock.

Sunny Sweeney – Puckett’s Farm Equipment, Charlotte

Sunny Sweeney is the party and the morning after. She’s the quip that makes you laugh and the truth that makes you cry, the devil that’s egging you on and the angel whispering that you aren’t alone. But those compelling contradictions aren’t what’s most interesting about Sweeney: it’s the depth and brazen authenticity she brings to all her roles that grabs you and won’t let go.

Enjoy the Easter holiday weekend with some live music and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, March 23-25

Two larger shows highlight the first weekend of spring in the central and eastern portions of the state…

Spring officially started this week although for much of the North Carolina mountains it was welcomed in with snow showers and bitter cold temperatures. Down east things have been a little warmer although the rain continues this weekend.

Hopefully, it won’t keep fans away from the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater where a sold out show awaits. Our other featured show takes place back inland toward the center of the state in Winston-Salem and will be inside.

Get out and enjoy some live music around the state!

FRIDAY – MARCH 23, 2018

No shows listed.

SATURDAY – MARCH 24, 2018

Drive-By Truckers – Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, Wilmington

Drive-By Truckers have always been outspoken, telling a distinctly American story via craft, character, and concept, all backed by sonic ambition and social conscience. Founded in 1996 by singer/songwriter/guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, the band have long held a progressive fire in their belly but with AMERICAN BAND, they have made the most explicitly political album in their extraordinary canon. A powerful and legitimately provocative work, hard edged and finely honed, the album is the sound of a truly American Band – a Southern American band – speaking on matters that matter.

Miranda Lambert – Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem

The Living Like Hippies Tour makes a stop in North Carolina with special guests Jon Pardi and Charlie Worsham

SUNDAY – MARCH 25 2018

No shows listed.

Lambert was recently featured as the fourth figure atop the Mount Rushmore of independent country and roots music alongside Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. Her commitment to the independent scene is undeniable having recently announced the Turnpike Troubadours, Steel Woods, Natalie Hemby and Tenille Townes will be joining her next tour with Little Big Town, and already having other artists like Sunny Sweeney join her on stage.

Enjoy the weekend, take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Red Dirt NC: Weekend watch, March 16-18

A relatively slow holiday weekend should make deciding on a show easier, especially for the western part of the state…

The past few weekends have created multiple opportunities for seeing live music within this genre. In fact, shortly after Cody Johnson played Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte, he became the first unsigned artist to sell out the Houston Rodeo and by all accounts put on an amazing show.

The morale of this story is to take advantage when ANY of the Texas country or Red Dirt artists venture outside of their normal touring circuit. Not only to see those that hail from both Oklahoma and Texas, but to also appreciate the artists here who have been and are breaking into the scene.

This weekend provides an opportunity to see two different acts on opposite ends of the spectrum but who are still representing a commitment to their craft with a profound ability to entertain. Each has their own characteristics and with St. Patrick’s Day looming on Saturday, can assist in your celebration with the addition of live music.

FRIDAY – MARCH 16, 2018

James Scott Bullard – Shooter’s Lounge, Hickory

After a brief stint in rehab several years ago, James Scott Bullard declared himself substance-free, yet it took him longer to accept responsibility for the rest of his life’s decisions.  That process led to fan-favorite lovelorn songs from his previous albums.  Full Tilt Boogie jumps forward to where Bullard is now, owning his bad choices and sometimes reveling in them, while not giving up vices altogether, as his string of exes will attest.  Bullard’s honesty about his flaws endears him to his fans, who find broken pieces of themselves in the lyrics. 

SATURDAY – MARCH 17, 2018

Pickxen – Oskar Blues Brewery, Brevard

Saint Paddy’s Day fun with Pickxen!  While we may not be able to utilize the outdoor patio bar, the Tasty Weasel taproom is open daily with free tours of the brewery. The Oskar Blues CHUBwagon food truck serves up CHUBurgers and tacos to quench your hunger. Five nights a week, local and regional bands make your ear holes happy. Pisgah National Forest is a 10 minute bike ride away, so go git rad and meet back at the brewery for a pint.

Nathan Kornegay – Goldsboro Brew Works, Goldsboro

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

You won’t go wrong with any choice this weekend and for a large number of people in the western half of the state, you’ll be close to something both nights. Get out, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and enjoy your weekend by supporting live music!

Take advantage and keep spreading the love, one song at a time…

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch, March 9-11

Get ready for another weekend packed with Red Dirt entertainment across the state…

While there are plenty of weekday shows worth attending, those taking place on the weekend seemingly always take things to another level. Last weekend shows were scattered across the state and while the Charlotte area is home to a majority of this week’s entertainment, it will be worth both the time and money to make a trip.

Saturday provides a bevy of entertainment within just a 20-mile radius north of Charlotte. You won’t go wrong choosing any of the available options so grab some friends, get out and go enjoy a show!

FRIDAY – MARCH 9, 2018

Corey Hunt Band – French Broad Brewing in Asheville

“Hunt’s songwriting ranges from sincere romanticism to outlaw rebellion, and their do-it-yourself approach to booking, recording, and gigging has given them the freedom to explore and expand their music as they grow.  With room to grow and momentum on their side, their crowd-pleasing and relatable take on modern roots music is poised for bigger and better things every time they hit the stage or the studio.”

SATURDAY – MARCH 10, 2018

Shane Smith & the Saints – Puckett’s Farm Equipment in Charlotte

From their home base in Austin through performances across the country (17 states) and abroad (Ireland), these five gentlemen have not just stuck stubbornly to their musical and lyrical convictions. They’ve defied audience expectations by delivering incendiary shows, each one ignited by the band’s ability to unleash, feed from and feed back the energy of the crowd — in spite of the fact that they don’t fit easily into any musical category.

Flatland Cavalry – Puckett’s Farm Equipment in Charlotte

At some point between Lubbock and Midland, the land shifts from endless cotton rows and rich farmland into pump jacks and mesquite tree filled pastures. Lubbock roots-country outfit Flatland Cavalry straddles that line between the Panhandle and the badlands of West Texas with their bright, earthy country ballads and gritty folk ramblers. Vocalist and chief songwriter Cleto Cordero’s honest, smooth songwriting revolves around the vernacular world of West Texas that he’s constructed with dusty, sun-soaked character sketches, brooding self-evaluations, and candid love songs that all have the ability to turn into singalong anthems.

Pistol Hill – New Korner Pub in Mooresville

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists within the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Corey Hunt Band – The Evening Muse in Charlotte

A second opportunity this weekend!

SUNDAY – MARCH 11, 2018

Shane Smith & the Saints – Apps and Taps Pontoon Stage in Mooresville

A second opportunity this weekend!

Flatland Cavalry – Apps and Taps Pontoon Stage in Mooresville

A second opportunity this weekend!

Just a few more hours (maybe less) separate you from the weekend and one of these incredible shows. Make plans now and don’t miss out on another weekend filled with quality music.

Keep spreading the appreciation for these sounds and artists, maybe we’ll see you at a show!

Red Dirt NC: Weekend Watch

From Asheville to Jacksonville, there is no excuse to miss a Red Dirt show in NC this weekend…

Beginning on Thursday and through the weekend there are a number of opportunities to support live music throughout the state. While we are hopeful that a post of this variety is something that can be repeated on a weekly basis, we know the battle will be an uphill climb. As stated, it is our goal to spread the love for Red Dirt and Americana music across North Carolina and if you are a fan, get out to one of these events and take your friends.

Literally almost everyone in the entire state will be a two-hour maximum drive from some incredible music over the next few days. Take note, make plans and go enjoy a show!

THURSDAY – MARCH 1, 2018

Eli Young Band – The Tarheel in Jacksonville

“The ELI YOUNG BAND has always been unique in modern Country music – a true band of brothers who play their own instruments, write their own songs and cling fast to their Texas roots. They’d even go so far as to call themselves “misfits,” but with their fourth major label album, FINGERPRINTS (The Valory Music Co.), they’re finally embracing what makes them different once and for all.”

FRIDAY – MARCH 2, 2018

Cody Johnson – Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte

“Johnson delivers it all with an uncanny confidence. His smoky baritone and ultra-Southern enunciation gives him a voice as uniquely identifiable as country kingpins Jason Aldean or Tim McGraw. And he uses it to convey a Texas-proud swagger, a real-man charm and an unwavering honesty about who he is, where he comes from and where he hopes to go.”

Corb Lund – Ambrose West in Asheville

“The acclaimed singer-songwriter has been praised by Rolling Stone Country , NPR, and the Washington Post, among others, and his music has been featured on the Netflix show The Ranch. The Washington Post has called him, ‘a revelation, laconic and scary smart, with a devil’s eye for details’ while Rolling Stone named Lund among ‘the 10 new Country Artists you need to know.'”

Nathan Kornegay – Slim’s Downton in Raleigh

“Singer/Songwriter based in Raleigh. Influenced by great songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jason Isbell, and Ryan Adams.”

Corey Hunt Band – Cone Denim in Greensboro

“Hunt’s songwriting ranges from sincere romanticism to outlaw rebellion, and their do-it-yourself approach to booking, recording, and gigging has given them the freedom to explore and expand their music as they grow.  With room to grow and momentum on their side, their crowd-pleasing and relatable take on modern roots music is poised for bigger and better things every time they hit the stage or the studio.”

Eli Young Band – Cone Denim in Greensboro

A second opportunity this weekend!

SATURDAY – MARCH 3, 2018

Pistol Hill & Justin Clyde Williams – Puckett’s Farm Equipment in Charlotte

Independent and traditional country music. Emerging local artists in the genre featuring both original songs and covers from some of your favorite individuals and bands.

Corey Hunt Band – 105 Worth Street in Asheboro

A second opportunity this weekend and a hometown show!

Just a few more work days (maybe less) separate you from the weekend and one of these incredible shows. Make plans now and don’t miss out on a rare weekend filled with quality music.

Until next time, keep spreading the appreciation of these sounds and artists, one song at a time…