American Aquarium w/ Gabe Lee

Tue Jun 22 2021

8:00 PM (Doors 7:00 PM)

The Basement East

917 Woodland St Nashville, TN 37206

$20.00 - $100.00

Ages 18+

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American Aquarium Pre-Show Meet & Greet Experience
  • One premium reserved ticket in the first rows -or- one general admission ticket to see American Aquarium live 
  • VIP early entry into the venue 
  • Exclusive meet & greet with American Aquarium 
  • Personal photograph with American Aquarium 
  • Access to a private pre-show soundcheck performance by American Aquarium 
  • Q&A session with American Aquarium 
  • One tour poster, autographed by American Aquarium 
  • Commemorative meet & greet laminate 
  • Merchandise shopping opportunity before doors open to public
  • Limited availability  

Full Capacity Show
American Aquarium w/ Gabe Lee

  • American Aquarium

    American Aquarium

    Alternative Country

    In the lush tobacco fields of North Carolina where BJ Barham was raised, people work hard. Families stay nearby, toiling and growing together. BJ loves those farms and his tiny Reidsville hometown, but he had to run off and start American Aquarium, a band now beloved by thousands.

     

    BJ couldn’t stay. But he couldn’t really leave, either: he’s still singing about the lessons, stories, and lives that define rural America––and him.

     

    “I moved to the big city to go to college and fell in love with music,” BJ says. “But half the songs on our record are about small towns––little pieces of my childhood. I’ve had moments where it turns out a piece of broken English my father repeated twice a week is the most accurate way to say something. So I put it in a song.”

     

    American Aquarium’s seventh studio album Things Change offers the band’s finest collection of folk-infused Southern rock-and-roll to date. Stacked with BJ’s signature storytelling––always deeply personal but also instantly relatable––the record questions and curses current events, shares one man’s intimate evolution, and leaves listeners with a priceless gift: hope.

     

    “In my early 20s, I was not as hopeful,” BJ says. “Now, as I’m getting ready to become a father, I think I have to be hopeful––especially with the situation our country is in now. For her sake, I have to be positive.” He pauses. “Her” is his daughter, due in the spring of 2018. BJ adds, “Being self-aware has always been a blessing and a curse. But that’s what’s always made my songwriting relatable to people. I don’t hold back. I’m almost too honest.”

     

    BJ’s candor has fueled American Aquarium’s runaway appeal, visible most clearly in consistently sold-out shows across the country and throughout Europe - between 200 and 250 dates a year.  Much has changed for the band and BJ since their acclaimed last effort, Wolves. In 2017, every American Aquarium member save BJ quit the group. American Aquarium has featured about 30 players since BJ founded the outfit in 2006, and while each member has left indelible marks, the band has always been anchored by the literary songs and sometimes roaring, sometimes whispering, drawl of BJ Barham. BJ’s personal life also underwent seismic shifts: He got sober. He got married. Soon, he’ll be a dad.

     

    Featuring a new band lineup that includes Shane Boeker on lead guitar, drummer Joey Bybee, bassist Ben Hussey, and Adam Kurtz on pedal steel and electric guitar, as well as a reinvigorated frontman in BJ, Things Change is American Aquarium’s first release on a label after selling thousands of records on their own. “As an artist, your goal is for the newest thing you do to be better than the last. You’re slowly whittling away the bullshit to try and get to the truth,” BJ says. “With this album, I learned how to cut some of that fat so that it’s just truth. It’s our best record.”

     

    Recorded at 3CG Records in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Things Change was produced by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter John Fulbright and features cameos from Americana standouts including John Moreland and Jamie Lin Wilson. Brazen album opener “The World is on Fire” is a richly layered rock-and-roll anthem that documents BJ and his wife’s stunned reaction to the last presidential election. Emotional and conversational, the song taps into widespread feelings of confusion and fear: “She said, ‘What are we going to do? What’s this world coming to?’ / For the first time in my whole life, I stood there speechless.” But what begins as despair builds into defiant faith, as BJ growls a call to action to cap off one of his favorite songs he’s ever written. “I’m complaining about the state of things, and then the third verse almost serves as a challenge to myself: hey, you’re in charge of another human being. You can create change,” he says.

     

    Driving rock-and-roller “Crooked + Straight” explores the small-town consequences of questioning religion, and the tightness of family in the face of one member’s rejection. His father’s advice anchors the song. “I come from a blue-collar family. I’m the only one who didn’t go into farming. I learned if you want something, you have to go out and take it. You can’t expect anything from anybody,” BJ says. “You can only go out there and work harder. My dad always said you can outwork anybody else.” Love for hard work and the people who carry it out appears repeatedly throughout Things Change. Guitar-heavy “Tough Folks” is a snarling ode to those with dirt under their fingernails, while bass- and pedal-steel-infused “Work Conquers All” spins a tale in praise and pursuit of Oklahoma’s state motto.

     

    The album’s love songs are the kind of achingly beautiful that only comes with maturity and a willingness to expose one’s own flaws. Haunting “Shadows of You” recalls a lover’s flight as the protagonist longs for what he let get away. Gorgeous “Till the Final Curtain Falls” celebrates loyalty and pledges endless devotion. The moving title track takes an often doleful topic––people’s tendency to change––and turns it on its head, tracing BJ’s personal growth and recognizing his now-wife’s steadfast love.

     

    BJ’s other two favorite tracks are album standouts. Moving “When We Were Younger Men” addresses the break-up of American Aquarium head on. As BJ professes love for his former bandmates over stripped down acoustic guitar, his voice is honeyed and deep. “It’s an open letter to five guys who I spent eight years of my life with seeing the entire world,” BJ says. “I think anyone who has ever had to walk away from a friendship or has had somebody walk away from them will relate to the song.” Stunner “One Day at a Time” is self-perceptive and vulnerable, detailing BJ’s battles with himself. Even within his career full of well-written gems, the song is a towering accomplishment.

     

    “At the end of the day, if you’re not writing songs to affect other people’s lives, you’re in it for the wrong reasons,” BJ says, reflecting on the new album, where he’s been, and where American Aquarium is headed. “Money may come and go. You may never get fame. But if you sit down and write songs to affect people, you can do it your whole life and be happy.”

     

  • Gabe Lee

    Gabe Lee

    Alternative Country

    “I can see the tattoo on your shoulder, every night that mockingbird still haunts my dreams. He gets to chirpin’ and a callin’ whenever I’m not around, raggin’ on me every time he sings.”


    Nashville-based songwriter Gabe Lee is becoming increasingly known for his ability to detail the intricacies of everyday life, the small distinctions that leave some on the fringe and others in the mainstream, and the particulars that stick around long after a lover leaves. 

    His second album in as many years, Honky Tonk Hell,  finds Gabe diving deeper into themes that aren’t far from his own life -- exactly what it meant to grow up in Nashville and what it means to still be a songwriter there, how it feels to be settling into adulthood and the monotony and occasional heartbreak it can contain, as well as the pieces of a younger time that didn’t quite work out as expected. But, the way he tells these stories — these common pieces of experiences — is through narratives of men on the run, lovers who leave and vivid imagery, inspired by everything from Biblical stories to forgotten small towns and the people who inhabit them. Adorned with wailing guitars, pedal steel, a B3 organ, an occasional harmonica, dobro and lap steel, Honky Tonk Hell almost seems tailor-made for any dancehall jukebox — but with sentiments that will stick with you for much longer than its initial play. 

     

    “Heartbreak doesn’t necessarily have to apply to romantic love but also the relationship between an individual and a community, family, and society,” Gabe says. “In a lot of ways this album is about the relationship of the songwriter to the scene, the thrill and the burden —  the heaven, the hell — and all in between.”

     

    Like his previous release, farmland, the 11-song collection offers hints of his distinct perspective, influenced by a musical childhood -- in which he was surrounded by music, but a particular amalgam of church and gospel, classical music, and NPR radio. One of just a few songwriters of Asian descent in Nashville’s Americana scene, Gabe’s parents immigrated from Taiwan in the early ‘80s to pursue master’s degrees at the University of Arizona. They followed a job to Nashville, where he was raised. His mother, a professional and classically-trained pianist, was an integral force in Gabe’s musical education. 

     

    “Emmylou” marks the first time Gabe has recorded a track he’s written on piano. “It’s another heartbreak song,” he says. “It’s about the stage where it seems impossible to get someone out of your head, centering on a man who’s wishing someone back in every waking moment.” 

    Gabe’s material mixes a deep understanding of his classical training with what he learned at his friends’ homes, where he learned about the greats of the classic rock canon including Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac and Bob Dylan. There are hints of his adolescent favorites including Nirvana and Bright Eyes weaved in, as well. It’s a varied set. 

    The lead single from the new album, its namesake, “Honky Tonk Hell,” is a rollicking co-write between Gabe and southern rock wunderkind Marcus King, that began as the two discussed Nashville, specifically the elements of Lower Broadway — bars named after country stars row after row, music blaring out every window, the debauchery that can take place. It's an ode to the ramblin' man aesthetic, centering around a troublemaker and his perception of modern country music. 

     

    “Susannah” follows suit with the southern rock influence of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Rolling Stones or Lynyrd Skynyrd. The narrator exists in a love/hate relationship with Susannah — either a horse, or maybe a truck, Gabe says — because although she is broken down it’s still the only means of escape from a seemingly endless proverbial game of chase with the world, law, god, and whatever it is you may run from. 

     

    “Heartbreaker’s Smile” details the way we sometimes glorify the people that hurt us the most. “Shine on, Shine on,” the refrain says, “you can have whatever you like whenever you want.” 

    “It’s not easy after a falling out to be happy for the other person,” Gabe says. “I don’t think most people are wired that way, but this song touches on the possibility of continuing to love someone you can’t tie down.”

     

    “Babylon” is simply about getting rid of old habits, dealing with motifs of addiction, bad love, and the trials and tribulations of a crooked life. “Piece of Your Heart” is a painfully honest goodbye song, with a narrator who thinks life would be better off if he could just let go of all the memories and mementos of his now-heartbreak. 

     

    No stranger to using imagery to tell his stories, “Great Big River” utilizes powerful horns and piano-driven melodies to offer a bit of hope, a cleansing of sorts. “30 Seconds At A Time” presents three separate, indirectly correlated vignettes about the fleeting nature of youth, beauty, and power.

     

    “It also holds some of my favorite imagery on the record, from kids smoking in a train yard, a displaced woman selling magazines on the street, and Jesus catching a lunch break at the diner,” Gabe says. “I wanted this to be a song where a listener can find new and tiny unexpected cracks to mull over every time it’s played.”

     

    “Imogene,” written in the wee hours of the morning, was inspired by a small town that never inherited more than 100 people, but had burned down more than a handful of times. 

    “As a kid, my parents loved to take detours to wayward rural towns of the Midwest,” Gabe says. “At the time my little brother and I would hop out of the car, take one look, and want to keep going. But thinking back a part of me wishes I’d spent a little more time just living in those moments, imagining stories of what possible dramas or plots could have happened in the farthest corners of America.”

     

    One of the album’s deep tracks, “All Dogs Go To Heaven,” will be particularly relatable to any dog owners. “Being a dog parent, I live the life of chasing down these little hell raisers every day. But at the end of even the longest day, they are my best friends. I think a fun message that came out of it is that we should try to adopt some of the optimism, energy, and good-naturedness of our four-legged companions, even if we sometimes make a mess.”

     

    “Blue Ridge Goodbye” the album’s closer, ventures into a different kind of goodbye than much of the rest of the album. “Without bringing in religion or politics, I wanted to form a message about moving on that was accessible, comforting, and most of all filled with hope.” 

     

Please correct the information below.

Select ticket quantity.

Complete the security check.

Select Tickets

limit 4 per person
G.A.

$20.00
American Aquarium Pre-Show Meet & Greet Experience

$100.00

Delivery Method

ticketFast
Will Call

Terms & Conditions

This event is 18 and over. Any Ticket holder unable to present valid identification indicating that they are at least 18 years of age will not be admitted to this event, and will not be eligible for a refund.

ALL PATRONS MUST BRING A VALID FORM OF IDENTIFICATION.
WE ONLY ACCEPT TICKETWEB TICKETS.
BACKPACKS are not allowed inside the venue.
Most shows are standing room only.
Handicap accommodations can be arranged.

ALL ALL AGES and 18+ SHOWS ARE NO RE-ENTRY. If you leave the venue, you will not be allowed back in. Thanks!
Full Capacity Show

American Aquarium w/ Gabe Lee

Tue Jun 22 2021 8:00 PM

(Doors 7:00 PM)

The Basement East Nashville TN
American Aquarium w/ Gabe Lee

$20.00 - $100.00 Ages 18+

American Aquarium Pre-Show Meet & Greet Experience
  • One premium reserved ticket in the first rows -or- one general admission ticket to see American Aquarium live 
  • VIP early entry into the venue 
  • Exclusive meet & greet with American Aquarium 
  • Personal photograph with American Aquarium 
  • Access to a private pre-show soundcheck performance by American Aquarium 
  • Q&A session with American Aquarium 
  • One tour poster, autographed by American Aquarium 
  • Commemorative meet & greet laminate 
  • Merchandise shopping opportunity before doors open to public
  • Limited availability  

Please correct the information below.

Select ticket quantity.

Complete the security check.

Select Tickets

Ages 18+
limit 4 per person
G.A.
$20.00
American Aquarium Pre-Show Meet & Greet Experience
$100.00

Delivery Method

ticketFast
Will Call

Terms & Conditions

This event is 18 and over. Any Ticket holder unable to present valid identification indicating that they are at least 18 years of age will not be admitted to this event, and will not be eligible for a refund. ALL PATRONS MUST BRING A VALID FORM OF IDENTIFICATION.
WE ONLY ACCEPT TICKETWEB TICKETS.
BACKPACKS are not allowed inside the venue.
Most shows are standing room only.
Handicap accommodations can be arranged.

ALL ALL AGES and 18+ SHOWS ARE NO RE-ENTRY. If you leave the venue, you will not be allowed back in. Thanks!