Video: American Aquarium “Cherokee Purples”

Photo credit: Joshua Black Wilkins

With this week’s videos, we’re celebrating the great summer festivals that we have to look forward to.  Following yesterday’s entry for Black Deer, today’s video from American Aquarium takes us to The Long Road Festival from 23rd – 25th August 2024 in Leicestershire.  The always excellent American Aquarium are performing at The Long Road on Friday 23rd and are representing an outstanding line-up that includes many acts our readers will be familiar with, including: Robert Vincent, Pokey LaFarge, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, Dylan LeBlanc, My Darling Clementine, Katie Pruitt and Kassi Valazza.  There’s still time to get your tickets here.

‘Cherokee Purples’ is the latest single from the forthcoming album ‘The Fear of Standing Still’, due out on 26th July 2024. The band worked with three-time GRAMMY-winner Shooter Jennings for the second time.  Singer BJ Barham says of the powerful sound: “In our live show the band’s like a freight train that never lets up, and for this record I really wanted to showcase how big and anthemic we can be.”  To celebrate the new record, the band will be returning to the Grand Ole Opry on the release date, beginning a three-month tour across the US.

‘Cherokee Purples’ begins with powerful percussion from Ryan Van Fleet before Shane Boeker’s repeating guitar motif drives the song.  Ethereal pedal steel from Neil Jones and Alden Hedges’ warm bass give depth to the sound.  In the closing moments, keyboardist Rhett Huffman transports with tumbling melody.  BJ Barham, front-man and songwriter, delivers his fine lyrics, full of narrative detail, with his brilliantly distinctive, characterful voice.  He says of the song’s theme and inspiration: “There are many strains of heirloom tomatoes grown here in North Carolina but the best, in my humble opinion, are Cherokee Purples.  They are a hearty fruit. Whether sliced as a side dish or on display as the centerpiece of a tomato/mayo sandwich, they immediately take me back to my childhood in Reidsville,NC. ‘Cherokee Purples’ is a song about nostalgia and the power of sensory memory. How a sound or the smell of a tomato sandwich can transport you back to a very specific time and place.  For me, it’s my grandmother’s house. As silly as it sounds, every summer when I make this sandwich, I can’t help but think of the summers spent at my grandmother’s house. The sandwich is painfully simple: two pieces of white bread, thick sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper and Duke’s Mayonnaise, but I believe the perfection is in the simplicity. One bite and I’m immediately taken back to the early 90’s. Spending our days outside, drinking from a water hose, eating fruit and vegetables straight from the garden and having homegrown tomatoes at every meal.”

This is an example of outstanding song-craft from one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the year.  Check it out.

About Andrew Frolish 1455 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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