After Kacey Musgraves (2018), Kylie Rae Harris (2019) and Charley Crockett (2020), Country Music France’s 2021 artist of the year is American Aquarium.
Those who read me on this blog know that I have a lot of admiration for this fantastic band from Raleigh, North Carolina, leaded by one of the most talented songwriters of the US, BJ. Barham.
This year, American Aquarium didn’t release a studio album, but two amazing albums of 90’s country songs covers, “Slappers, Bangers & Certified Twangers” Vol 1 and 2. Y’all should listen to them if you’ve not done it yet. You’ll find there fantastic covers, such as Hal Ketchum’s “Small Town, Saturday Night“, Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine“, Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Shot The Jukebox”, or this impressive one of Joe Diffie’s “John Deere Green“. This version of Joe Diffie’s hit, performed with such energy and talent, is undoubtedly part of the songs that made my year.
The artist of the year, for me, is not necessary this one who releases an outstanding studio album or single during the year, but this one who contributes to the success of country music, year after year, and let this genre be alive. Country music is songwriting and storytelling. It’s authenticity. It’s the way chosen by generations of artists to talk about the real life of American people. American Aquarium’s lyrics and music and BJ Barham’s voice carry out this duty with such talent for years that they deserve to be the 2021 artist of the year.
Photo : Joshua Black Wilkins