Though his band American Aquarium is based out of Raleigh, North Carolina, singer BJ Barham decided to go revisit home for his solo debut Rockingham.
Named for the North Carolina county where he was raised, Rockingham takes an unflinching look at the lives of people in rural areas and how they shaped his own development. The title track uses a stuttering acoustic guitar pattern and sharp blasts of harmonica to accompany Barham’s plainspoken musings about returning to the place where, as he sings, “I was born, where I was raised, on broken promises and glory days.” The video is set in his hometown of Reidsville, North Carolina and features scenes of pastoral beauty and small town Americana along with shots of Barham playing his guitar on his parents’ front porch and in the tobacco barn where he worked as a teen.
“This is the town that I spent the first 18 years of my life in, the town that the last seven generations of my family were born and raised in, the place that serves as the backdrop for the entire record,” he says. “This song is about running out of opportunity and coming to terms that you are never leaving the town you were born in. I’ve always found beauty and inspiration in the bleak and desperate side of the human condition. The thought of staring down the rest of your life and realizing you don’t have another move really struck a chord with me.”
Barham will be on tour with American Aquarium this summer, but will also play solo selections from Rockingham, which is due out August 19th.
Here are American Aquarium and BJ Barham’s tour dates:
August 20th – Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
August 21th – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Library Society
August 22nd – Jacksonville, FL @Jack Rabbits
August 23rd – Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub
August 24th – Tallahassee, FL @ 5th & Thomas
August 25th – Atlanta, GA @ City Winery
August 26th – Waverly, AL @ Standard Deluxe
August 27th – Little Rock, AR @ White Water Tavern
August 29th – Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
August 30th – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
August 31st – Nashville, TN @ City Winery
September 1st – Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre