American Aquarium w/ Cory Brannan
Harvester Performance Center
450 Franklin St, Rocky Mount, VA, 24151
When: Thursday, Jun 14, 2018 8:00 PM (Doors open at 7:00 PM)
Door Time: 7:00 PM
Show Type: Americana
$18 in advance,$22 day of show (if available)
For nearly a decade, American Aquarium have spent the majority of their days on the road, burning through a sprawl of highways during the day and playing hours of raw, rootsy rock & roll at night. Sometimes, the job is a grind. Most times, it?s a blessing. American Aquarium?s songs, filled with biographical lyrics about last calls, lost love and long horizons, have always explored both sides of that divide. For every drunken night at the bar, there?s a hangover in the morning. For every new relationship, there?s the chance of a broken heart. It?s that kind of honesty ? that sort of balance ? that makes the band?s newest album, Wolves, their strongest release to date.
And it nearly didn?t happen. When American Aquarium traveled to Muscle Shoals to record Burn.Flicker.Die. in 2012, they were convinced the album would be their last. Even though they had enlisted the help of award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell to produce the sessions, they were exhausted; weathered and whittled to the bone by more than a half-decade of heavy partying and heavier touring. To a small group of diehard fans, they were absolute rockstars? but being rockstars to a cult audience doesn?t always put food on your table or gas in your tank. BJ Barham, the band?s frontman, was so poor that he?d been living out of a storage unit for months, unable to afford an apartment in the band?s hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
ADIOS is Cory Branan?s death record. Not the cheeriest of openings, but like all of Branan?s mercurial work, it?s probably not what you think. As funny and defiant as it is touching and sad, this self-dubbed ?loser?s survival kit? doesn?t spare its subjects or the listener. Not even Branan?s deceased father is let off the hook. In the tender homage ?The Vow? he drolly cites his father?s favorite banality ?that?s what you get for thinking? as ?probably not the best lesson for kids.? For most songwriters that would be the punchline but Branan pushes through words and, in his father?s actions, finds a kind of ?genius in the effortless way he just ?did?.? Not all the death on ADIOS is literal mortality. ?Imogene? is sung from the wreckage of a love that once ?poked fun at the pain, stoked the sun in the rain? but ends with the urgent call to ?act on the embers, ash won?t remember the way back to fire.?