The cool thing about American Aquarium is that they have always been really good. Headed up by the band’s founder, guitarist, singer and lead songwriter BJ Barham, the group almost called it quits several years ago. The band was making great music, but not many were noticing, and life on the road for little bank was growing old. Enter Jason Isbell.
Right before Isbell’s album Southeastern blew up, making him the hottest ticket around, he offered to produce what was to be American Aquarium’s last-ever recording.
“We worked with Jason at a good time, right before he became super famous,” Barham says. “One day we were talking and he said, ‘When are you going to let me produce a record?’ And I finally took him up on it. I finally called him up and said, ‘Are you serious?’ He said, ‘Yeah. Come to Muscle Shoals.’ That was supposed to be our last album. We were going to break up after that record. Everything was a storm. We had one of our original members quit right before we went into the studio. The only reason we made that record was that we liked the songs and we were like, ‘We can’t let them go to waste.’”
The end result was 2012’s Burn. Flicker. Die., which was hailed by critics and fans alike. Since then, American Aquarium has been on a roll, resurrected and rocking on a regular basis again. The group’s new album is the just-released Wolves, which brings a more barroom feel to American Aquarium’s Americana grooves.
AMERICAN AQUARIUM plays at Southgate House Revival Thursday, Feb. 26. Find tickets/more info here .