3227 N. Davidson St.
Doors 10:00 PM / Show 10:30 PM
High-energy country rockers American Aquarium have toured relentlessly for the last five years.
What: American Aquarium, with Jessy Carolina And The Hot Mess and Tik Tok Laboratories
When: 7:30 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show, Friday, April 15
Where: The Soapbox, 255 N. Front St., downtown Wilmington
Tickets: $8, free admission with ticket stub to Friday night's Drive-By Truckers show
Details: 251-8500 or www.AmericanAquarium.net
From the beginning, BJ Barham, the Raleigh-based group's heartbeat and frontman, knew that is how he'd build his band.
"People thought that would be a cool idea until they realized (I'm) serious about never being at home," Barham said by phone from snow-covered Cincinnati.
It was a few weeks before American Aquarium's scheduled stop at The Soapbox on Friday, a gig that's being billed as a post-Drive-By Truckers show (see story, 1D).
American Aquarium is often compared to DBT, but their music is also part Bruce Springsteen and part Old 97's. You could call them North Carolina's version of New Jersey band The Gaslight Anthem, whose geographic storytelling style is similar, but for American Aquarium, the subject matter is the South.
In between playing 300 shows in 2009, the band found time to record its most recent album, the introspective "Small Town Hymns." In songs like "Reidsville," Barham shows his gift for telling tapestry-rich stories, singing of "trading wheels for a wedding band" in a burning nod to his hometown.
This summer, the band is set to record a new album in Muscle Shoals, Ala., to be produced by Jason Isbell, formerly of DBT but now a solo artist. Barham and Isbell bonded after playing shows together. In a Raleigh bar, the notion of producing an American Aquarium album came up.
"(Isbell) made the comment, ‘When are you going to let me produce one of your albums?'" Barham recalled. "I said, ‘How about the next one?' "
Ross Adams is a singer-songwriter originally from Winston-Salem, NC. Ross meticulously weaves stories of loss, longing and hope all in the shadows of his two major influences, Justin Townes Earle and Bob Dylan. The artistic strain of his voice cries out for your ears and instead somehow takes your heart with him. His lyrics and voice meld together to form an honest, intricate and heartbroken autobiography, all the while retaining relatability to anyone lucky enough to notice. Ross' clever and unique picking style is a refreshing burst onto the singer-songwriter scene. He has played a plethora of shows in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas.
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