I found myself laughing so fucking hard that I was bent over, holding my gut. As I gasped for more oxygen, I noticed the rest of the room bent over in laughter as well. BJ Barham bent me, and many others, over last night. And it was fuckin good.
My date exclaimed with honesty: “You didn’t tell me he was a comedian and a musician?!” Laughing at the seriousness of her comment between my attempts to suck oxygen back into my lungs, I replied “he’s not, he’s just fucking hilarious!” Looking back now, perhaps he is both… BJ, you should try that shit as a stand up bit… Seriously. You could be a comedian and a musician, just like Steve Martin.
Bartender Brian opened the show. His girlfriend, Alysa, is such a great addition with her tender voice and uplifting tones. She perfectly complements him, elegantly slicing through his dirty, shredded vocal chords that he forces honesty through so beautifully. Here’s a shitty pic:
They have a couple covers they do and some originals they’ve written in addition to Brian’s solo material. They do fantastic jobs with the beautiful “In Spite Of Ourselves” by John Prine and the marvelous “Wagon Wheel” By Old Crow Medicine Show. My friend Johnny Knuckles was kind enough to join them on vocals for the Wagon Wheel cover. Shit gives me chills every time I watch them perform it.
Here’s a few of his original songs he was kind enough to give me to put on this shitty website. The last one “Only A Dream” is available for free download here.
Only A Dream:
BJ Barham is not a musician. He is not a comedian. He is a performer. He owns the stage and the comfortably controls the crowd when he performs. His lyrics are poetic and to the point. He has a bunch of songs about heartbreak but you can tell he’s not bitter. He’s not throwing a pity party. He’s just being honest, literal, and real about the shit.
“You’re just a two pack habit with a southern accent. yeah, i’m a pearl snap poet with bad tattoos.” -St Mary’s
Here’s a great video of one of his most popular songs. My favorite line in it is: “You fuck like a woman, but you love like a little girl” – check out the American Aquarium – I Hope He Breaks Your Heart Video.
Additionally, his sense of comedy and how it ties into his views on himself and life is rare. It’s awesome. It’s hilarious. I think he has what I like to refer to as a realist outlook on life.
One of my (many) personal favorites BJ has written is Burn.Flicker.Die. – “A whiskey on the rocks, and adderall…” Sounds like a Saturday night to me. Check out the Video for Burn. Flicker. Die. by American Aquarium below. Here’s some more lyrics you can use to sing along to it:
“Every now and then she still crosses my mind.
By “every now and then” I mean most of the time.
By “every now and then” I mean all of the time.”
Through his perfect mix of crowd pleasing songs and requests, he managed to play a couple brand new songs. One of them I already love. All I remember is “… been waitin’ 27 years for someone to change my mind.” in reference to a love interest. I’m 27… still waiting too, see the connection?
I’m fucking stoked to hear the new album once it’s released. I’m also stoked to see him perform again, with or without his band behind him. Here’s a shitty pic of him staring at the ceiling from the show:
Needless to say, I had a fantastic time at the show. Mr. Barham was great. And after re-reading the above, shit, I think I want to date him.
Go get on Spotify and have a listen to the entire American Aquarium catalog. I highly recommend the live album they recorded in their hometown of Raleigh, NC. Most importantly, don’t miss them if they perform anywhere near you. Maybe you’ll get bent too.