American Aquarium at the Black Sheep show preview 

click to enlarge American Aquarium, with Kody West; Tuesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m., blacksheeprocks.com.
  • American Aquarium, with Kody West; Tuesday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m., blacksheeprocks.com.
Like Bruce Springsteen and David Baerwald before him, American Aquarium bandleader BJ Barham wears his world-weary heart on his sleeve, but still manages to avoid undue solipsism. Well, maybe not entirely. On the title track of his group’s 2006 debut Antique Heart, Barham compared himself to “a used-record store full of memories that no one wants to hear anymore.” But that turned out to be wrong. Today, with a 10th album on the way, the North Carolina alt-country band’s following has reached beyond cult status, despite some periods of significant floundering. During a Pledgemusic video pitch to support the recording of the band’s next album, the singer-songwriter summarizes a lot of life experiences in a single sentence: “I got married, I got sober, I bought a house, I completed the Great 48 Tour with my wife and dog, I had an entire band quit on me, I had an entire new band join me on the road, and we’ve had a presidential election that split our country in half.” In other words, Barham’s got a lot of experiences to draw upon, both good and bad. As he sang on his band’s last album: “There are different roads to happiness / I took a different path, I guess / Came out on the other side just fine / The losing side of twenty five.”


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