High: 80°F ~ Low: 62°F
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Critics' darling, 'hard country' pros American Aquarium play NWA ThursdayPosted Sunday, January 27, 2013, at 8:56 PM
The highly critically acclaimed "hard-country" Americana-rock group American Aquarium headlines a show at George's in Fayetteville Thursday night.
Bandleader BJ Barham brings his songs to the four other bandmates, who breathe life into a live performance that is equal parts Springsteen-esque rock bravado, old-school country lyrical heartbreak, and indie-rock introspection. From the college co-eds to tattooed bikers and hipsters, the band has demonstrated its ability to melt boundaries.
Now, with six years and nearly 1,000 shows and, now, a sixth album under their collective belt, American Aquarium is back on the road and will headline a show at George's Majestic Lounge this coming Thursday night, Jan. 31. The tour is in support of the newest album, "Burn.Flicker.Die." recorded by the great Americana singer/songwriter Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers.
After two years of writing, American Aquarium's members journeyed to the legendary recording hub that gave birth to some of the greatest blues, country and rock records of all time: Muscle Shoals/Sheffield, Alabama. Recorded in eight days under the precise hand of friend/tour buddy Isbell, the record is an aptly named milestone for the band, and their most painstaking effort to date. As a long-time Southern rock artisan, Isbell provided a weathered know-how in producing the record American Aquarium is proudest of. Described as a "consequence record" by vocalist Barham, the band spent that week pushing out everything that's been haunting them: working for six years, watching buzz bands peak and die, and pining for their own payoff.
Thursday's is surely to be a performance you won't want to miss, particularly if you enjoy what some critics have lovingly dubbed "hard country."
And the critics do love some American Aquarium.
Roy Kasten of The Riverfront Times of St. Louis, Missouri writes:
"Deceptively literate and cool films of romance on all the wrong sides of town ... make it recommended listening for anyone who misses the alt-country heyday of the Backsliders and Whiskeytown."
No Depression writes:
"At a time when so many bands are busy di**ing around with art school interpretations of roots music, trying to reinvent the wheelbarrow and create an avant-garde Americana revolution, it's refreshing to hear American Aquarium throw a fastball right down the middle."
The United Kingdom's Music-News writes:
"This is classic country with some of the best playing we could wish for. ... The songs are peppered with talk of 'Big Block Fords,' Plymouths and 'My Dad's Cadillac,' women are either 'Darlin' or rattlesnakes, and they encapsulate the emotions and desperation of small-town Southern American life perfectly. It is a brilliant example of hard country."
American Aquarium's show Thursday begins at 10 p.m. and tickets are only $5 in advance, available here. Damn Arkansan opens the show.
Kristal's Northwest Arkansas Music Blog
- Blog RSS feed
- Comments RSS feed
- Send email to Kristal Kuykendall
Carroll County News Managing Editor Kristal Kuykendall is a longtime music writer and live music follower in Arkansas. In addition to her full-time journalism career, as a hobby she has formerly has covered live music around the state for Citiscapes magazine in Fayetteville; the statewide Celebrate Arkansas magazine based in Rogers; The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas; Little Rock entertainment website Do501.com; LoveLiveMusic.com; KATV Channel 7's "Good Morning Arkansas"; and Nightflying, the statewide entertainment monthly; as well as her own music blog formerly located at http://mojo-management.com/kstarsmusicblog. With Kristal's Northwest Arkansas Music Blog, she now writes about live music primarily in the Eureka Springs and Carroll County regions, and includes major shows coming to nearby areas such as Fayetteville and Branson as well.
Hot topicsGood cover bands and great original tunes this weekend -- and hip-hop! In Eureka!
(0 ~ 6:23 AM, May 17)
Eureka weekend packed full of great roots, country and bluegrass music
A new night, a new band, a new name, and a banjo treat
Fayetteville's The AMP announces Old Crow Medicine Show; tickets on sale Friday
Killer sister rock Friday, and awesome blues-boogie on Saturday