For nearly a decade, American Aquarium have spent most of their time on the road, burning through a sprawl of highways during the day and playing hours of raw, rootsy rock & roll at night. To wit, the blog Bandsintown named them 2014’s most active live group with a whopping 206 tour dates logged. American Aquarium’s songs, filled with autobiographical lyrics about last calls, lost love, and long horizons, have always explored both the fulfilling and dispiriting sides of that touring life. It’s their honesty, and the earnestness of trying to win over one fan at a time, one show at a time, that has made American Aquarium one of the Triangle’s biggest local draws and one of its most talked about current exports. In January, they sold-out a two night stand in downtown Raleigh’s largest indoor club, the Lincoln Theatre, to celebrate the release of their latest album Wolves. They were on Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know: Winter 2015” list. And most impressively, they topped the European Americana Charts in April, ahead of genre heavyweights like Steve Earle and James McMurtry.
Produced by Megafaun’s Brad Cook and recorded during a three week stint at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, Wolves was crowdfunded entirely by American Aquarium’s diehard fanbase. The album’s 10 tracks represent a slight departure from their signature twang, instead drawing more from the alternative rock sound that inspired their name. Buoyed by a stable lineup of Ryan Johnson, Bill Corbin, Whit Wright, Kevin McClain and newest addition, Colin Dimeo, the band has gelled around lead singer and songwriter BJ Barham, creating a cohesive, fine-tuned unit both in the studio and on the stage. For a band who were contemplating calling it quits in 2012, the future seems increasingly bright for these North Carolina native sons. American Aquarium will open for X and Dwight Yoakam on Saturday, Sept. 12 in Raleigh City Plaza.
“Rooted in the brawny, barroom country-rock of fellow road warriors like Lucero and Drive-By Truckers.” – Rolling Stone
“American Aquarium’s music is the beckoning call of the road, the neon excitement of nightclubs and bars, the urgency of rock ‘n’ roll, a life unbound and free.” – Paste
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