BJ Barham – Rockingham

Are you from a small town? This is your life and surroundings set to music.

I moved to Rome, GA when I was 14. It is a half hour drive off the interstate. Rome is small, small-minded, blue-collar, and a little backward. This record sounds like everything that surrounded me while growing up.

I know BJ Barham as the lead singer of American Aquarium, a red dirt country band with punk-style vocals. However, this is not an American Aquarium album and it does not have the same feel; the energy is lower and more subdued.

If I was stocking the bins of a record store I would probably put Rockingham in the country/alternative country section. However, I do not believe that either of those labels does this record justice. Rockingham is more than a country album; this is blue-collar singer-songwriter music. This is what it sounds like inside the head of that one guy at the plant who plays his guitar on smoke breaks.

This album is full of slow storytelling songs that have an incredible air of sadness. Even the happy songs are kind of sad. Those stories are complex and deep, but they do not take themselves too seriously.

Maybe I have some pent-up emotions that I need to explore because this record affected me. I could easily let a tear fall while listening to Rockingham.

My favorite track: Reidsville

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