American Aquarium to Release Shooter Jennings-Produced ‘Lamentations’ in May
American Aquarium have announced their next album. The BJ Barham-fronted group will release Lamentations this spring.
Lamentations, which is due out on May 1 via New West Records, was produced by Shooter Jennings, son of country great Waylon Jennings and co-producer of Tanya Tucker's Grammy-winning 2019 release While I'm Livin'. The album takes its name from its opening song, "Me and Mine (Lamentations)," which features, per a press release, "a protagonist who has given up on the American Dream" and, feeling forgotten and left behind, buys into the promises of a politician.
On Lamentations, Barham fills his lyrics with compassion and understanding to try to unite rather than divide listeners. Its second track, "Dogwood," is upbeat but also looks at the working class' struggle; "Better South," meanwhile, comes from the point of view of someone who is proud of their Southern upbringing but also an advocate for change.
"As a songwriter, my number one job is to observe and then translate what I observe into a song, a story, a lesson,” Barham reflects. “I’d be doing myself and the listener a huge disservice if I didn’t talk about the things I see, which is a country, divided."
In September, Barham shared the Lamentations track "The Luckier You Get" during a crowdfunding campaign for the album. A full track list for the project has not yet been made available, but the press release reports that special guests on the project include Jamie Lin Wilson, the Watson Twins and Matt Douglas.
“I’ve had to work really hard to carry water as a songwriter. It feels really good to be in my mid-30s, writing songs that I think matter," Barham reflects. "I think when you listen to this record, something is going to change in you. You’re going to feel something. That’s the most important part of songwriting: making someone feel."
Barham has fronted the North Carolina-bred band since 2006 and is now its only remaining original member. In addition to Barham, the band now includes guitarist Shane Boeker, drummer Ryan Van Fleet, bassist Alden Hedges, pedal steel player Neil Jones and keyboard player Rhett Huffman.
Barham and company will be touring in support of Lamentations this year. Further details on that trek will be announced "shortly," per the release.