On the Beat

Rock Picks: American Aquarium’s B.J. Barham at Lincoln Theatre

American Aquarium’s B.J. Barham’s solo album “Rockingham” is as personal a set of songs as he’s ever written.
American Aquarium’s B.J. Barham’s solo album “Rockingham” is as personal a set of songs as he’s ever written.

American Aquarium’s B.J. Barham at Lincoln Theatre

Last fall, Raleigh’s American Aquarium was on the road in Europe when terrorists struck Paris with attacks that left 130 dead and hundreds more injured. That flipped a switch in B.J. Barham, who went on a writing binge that yielded up his new solo album “Rockingham.” American Aquarium has always had a streak of Bruce Springsteen-style heartland populism, and “Rockingham” takes that one step further with a move akin to Springsteen’s stark “Nebraska.” Barham goes deep within himself for as personal a set of songs as he’s ever written, steeped in memories of his seen-better-days hometown of Reidsville. The subject matter is mostly autobiographical, but even the storylines that are obviously fictional – the aged widower’s lament “Unfortunate Kind,” the love letter to a still-hypothetical daughter “Madeline” – ring so true that it’s all of a piece. Sympathetic, spare production from Megafaun/Hiss Golden Messenger’s Brad Cook frames each song perfectly, with Barham’s raw voice in the spotlight. Barham will give “Rockingham” its sendoff at 8 p.m. Saturday at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. Also on the bill are David Ramirez and SUSTO’s Justin Osborne. Tickets are $15-$25. See lincolntheatre.com for details.

Other highlights

  Comments