From “On the Edge: American Aquarium” by Tammy Ragusa in Country Weekly:
Not every act sets out to be a country singer or a rock star or even a bluegrass band. Some just want to make music, and sometimes that falls beyond the boundaries of definable formats. Enter American Aquarium.
“The most generic thing to do is call it Americana or alt-country,” says Aquarium frontman B.J. Barham. “That can encompass everything from folk music to pop-country. But we’re definitely not a pop-country band, we’re definitely not anything I think Nashville would ever touch with a 20-foot pole. I don’t think we’re straight-edged enough.” He’s neither apologizing nor boasting with that comment, but merely understating the eclectic and energetic nature of their music.
It’s a great bit of much deserved attention for the hardworking band from Raleigh. But on the edge of what? Stardom, I hope, but B.J. and the guys seem to come to the edge of many precipices.
There are some other big fans of American Aquarium here in Savannah, but the bands shows don’t consistent pack the house here like they do in most other cities.
The piece in Country Weekly comes right on top of the release a few days ago of American Aquarium’s second Daytrotter session. From Sean Moeller’s mini-essay that accompanies both those sessions:
The American landscape that the North Carolina band American Aquarium paints for us is similar to the one that the Drive-By Truckers can’t help but experience, just with fewer gothic figures. It’s a landscape that feels mostly southern and mostly old and worn down. It’s one that’s synonymous with the great American struggle. It has nothing to do with prosperity or any kind of nationalism, any kind of rosy pride. It has everything to do with taking what you can get, even if that’s so little that it hurts.
Be sure and catch them if you have the chance. They put on a stellar live show.
Here’s “St. Mary’s”:
Here’s a shot of lead singer B.J. Barham on one of the last occasions American Aquarium played here in Savannah: