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Unplugged: American Aquarium brings new album to the jinx

 

Unplugged: American Aquarium brings new album to the jinx

18 Feb 2015

American Aquarium returns to The Jinx on Feb. 21.

I’ve written similar sentences many times over the years.

According to the website Bandsintown, Raleigh-based American Aquarium’s 206 gigs in 2014 made it the “most active” band of the year, and we’re certainly fortunate here in Savannah that The Jinx is a regular stop.

IF YOU GO

What: American Aquarium, Nightingale News, Don Chambers

When: 10 p.m. Feb. 21

Where: The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.

Cost: $10

Info: www.americanaquarium.com

American Aquarium recently released “Wolves,” their sixth studio album. It’s a follow-up to the dark and beautiful “Burn.Flicker.Die.” which told of the toil of the road — of the longings and frustrations of making music for so long with only transitory rewards.

“Burn.Flicker.Die” might have been a farewell album, but ironically ended up cementing American Aquarium’s reputation as an alt-country band to be reckoned with.

“Wolves” takes the band and charismatic lead singer B.J. Barham into new emotional territory. Barham’s lyrics have always been introspective to some degree, but a song like “Man I’m Supposed to Be” explores duty and love in more complex ways — some would say more mature ways — than his previous work.

And the complexity is expressed through the instruments as well. The talented musicians in American Aquarium have been playing together for many years, and the ensemble seems to get tighter, subtler and more inventive with each album and with each gig. Whit Wright’s pedal steel is especially evocative on “Wolves.”

Barham has described “Wolves” as “a coming of age record,” which begs a question: What comes next?

American Aquarium will no doubt have a long run of successful shows touring in support of the new album, but as Barham and the band become more popular and settle into more stable lives, how will the band’s sound evolve?

It’s sure going to be fascinating to see where the band goes from here. I’ve been following American Aquarium closely since 2009’s awesome album “Dances for the Lonely” and will no doubt tag along wherever the band’s journey might lead.

American Aquarium seems to have a special relationship with The Jinx, so look for an especially spirited set to close out a full day of music.

Really, really promising acts Nightingale News and Don Chambers will be opening the show at The Jinx, so American Aquarium will probably hit the stage around midnight — right as A-Town Get Down is winding up.

 

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged (www.billdawers.com). Email billdawers@comcast.net.

 

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