Hangover Ball 2018

Doc Roc Presents

Hangover Ball 2018

Cody Canada, Evan Felker, Jason Boland, Mike McClure, Wade Bowen, Jamie Lin Wilson, William Clark Green, BJ Barham

Mon Jan 01

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Cain's Ballroom

Tulsa, OK

$22.00 - $42.00

This event is all ages


Advance $22
Day of Show $25
Door $25
Mezzanine (21+) $42


There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office.

No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds!

Support acts are subject to change without notice!

Cody Canada
Cody Canada
Cody Canada was 16 years old when he made his way from Yukon to Stillwater, Oklahoma. He had been searching for some inspiration; a place to call home musically. What he found was a creative nirvana of musicians who were generating the music that would stay with him for the rest of his life. "It was like the greatest place on earth, " Cody recalls. "I met Tom Skinner, Scott Evans, Bob Childers, Jimmy LaFave, the Red Dirt Rangers and they were all playing this really, really good music. It was kind of in that same vibe as the Allman Brothers and The Band. But what came out of it was really diverse. There were more country acts like Jason Boland. The All American Rejects were the rock guys. Then you had the whole Red Dirt hippie thing…I didn't even know what Red Dirt was until somebody told me. I got turned on to it all and it's stayed with me ever since."

During the 15 years that Canada was front man for Cross Canadian Ragweed, he successfully tapped into those influences on each of their nine albums. Four of those nine charted on Billboard's Top 10 Country Albums over the course of the years, thousands of albums were sold and the band played to sell out crowds across the country helping to spread "red dirt" music. But the one thing that Canada wanted to do in honor of his musical heartland never came to fruition…until now.

In the wake of Cross Canadian Ragweed's decision to part ways, Cody resurfaced with an armament of musicians and a mission in mind. With his long time Ragweed band mate, Jeremy Plato (bass) the two made a seamless transition into the world of The Departed, as in 'Cody Canada and The Departed". "We kicked around several ideas for names," Canada said. "We're all from different bands and we wanted something to sound like we came from different places. The Departed was right on the money." Along with Canada and Plato, The Departed rounds out with Seth James on guitar (Seth James Band, Ray Wylie Hubbard), Steve Littleton on B3 organ and keys (Live Oak Decline, Stoney LaRue & the Arsenals, Medicine Show) and Dave Bowen on drums (Stoney LaRue, Bleu Edmondson, Dale Watson).

Because they have traveled in the same circles for years, the band members are all familiar with each other and familiar with each other's style of playing. More than likely they've all played on the same stage at one time or another already. It's this familiarity with each other that made their first project so uncomplicated. Although The Departed is writing and will record original material, the band's first priority was getting into the studio and cutting the Oklahoma tribute album that Cody had been wanting to do for years. The result is This Is Indian Land, The Departed's debut album set for release this spring.

This Is Indian Land is a 15-track deep "buffet of really kick-ass Okie songs," Canada states. He jokingly says "It might sound like originals because not many people have ever heard these songs". But in fact, the album is loaded with well-known selections like Kevin Welch's "Kickin' Back in Amsterdam" and "True Love Never Dies", JJ Cale's "If You're Ever in Oklahoma" and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Leon Russell's "Home Sweet Oklahoma".

Of course there were a few tracks picked for more personal reasons. Cody notes, "'The Ballad of Rosalie' (Randy Pease) was the first song I ever heard in Stillwater. 'Little Rain Will Do' (Greg Jacobs) is just an awesome historical song I've been wanting to record since the first time I heard it. Randy Crouch's 'Face On Mars' really kind of frightened us. A lot of people wanted us to do it but we didn't know what to do with it. We sat there for a whole day trying to get it arranged and find a groove for it. We made it happen and it's one of my favorites on the album".

This Is Indian Land was recorded at Yellow Dog Studios in Austin, TX. As if the album content and inspiration weren't Oklahoma enough for The Departed, Yellow Dog Studios and owner Dave Percefull got their start in Tulsa. "It really kind of tied it all together," Cody says. "I walked in and saw all the pictures of these Stillwater guys hanging on the wall and thought 'Man, this is exactly where this album needs to be cut".

Cody Canada & The Departed is already making waves on the road. With the recording of the album behind them and a brand new year in front, the band has hit the road like only professionals know how to do. As excited as they are about their gigs, they are taking it all very seriously. "It's funny because with Ragweed we got to a point where we didn't have to practice. We were playing so many shows we could just get up there and do the tunes, right? Well now it's a new band playing new songs so we've got to learn everything, get our game together and practice. It's a whole lot of fun. I can't sleep at night. It keeps me awake, not from worry but from excitement. We're just ready to tear it up."
Evan Felker
Evan Felker
Turnpike Troubadours have taken the Texas/Red Dirt scene by storm the last couple years with a mix of excellent songwriting, superior musicianship and a killer live show. Turnpike frontman Evan Felker displays wisdom beyond his years in his lyrics and has garnered well-deserved attention from respected writers for his process and dedication. He'll be playing solo acoustic for an up-close and personal look.
Jason Boland
Jason Boland
Jason Boland & the Stragglers are an American Texas Country/Red Dirt group featuring Harrah, Oklahoma native Jason Boland (lead vocalist, guitar), Roger Ray (pedal steel, lead/rhythm guitar), Brad Rice (drums/backing vocals), and Grant Tracy (bass). Additional record contributions are made by Noah Jeffries on banjo, mandolin, and guitar.

Jason Boland and Brad Rice are both members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

The Bourbon Legend was released on Bruce Robison's Sustain Records label in late 2006. In 2007 Jason Boland co-produced the album Choices for the band Hazzard. The band's front man, Dana Hazzard, was the original fiddle player for the Stragglers.

In 2008, just before the release of the album, Comal County Blue, Boland ruptured a vocal chord. The injury almost caused him to lose his singing voice for good, but after surgery and resting his voice, he prevailed.

According to Katie Key, editor of the Texas Music Chart, "Comal County Blue" is the fastest growing single in 2008 from an independent label.

On April 20, 2010, the band released their second live album, entitled High in the Rockies: A Live Album. The recordings come from four live concerts over four days from January 7, 2010 to January 10, 2010. The shows were performed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Ft. Collins, Colorado, Laramie, Wyoming, and Denver, Colorado, respectively.
Mike McClure
Mike McClure
Mike McClure writes songs. He's written a whole lot of them. So many that he probably doesn't remember how all of them go. His songs are so good that other people like to sing them. Super famous people. Mike McClure has a band. There are four of them. They have instruments and they play them. They also have a van they ride around in. Mike also makes records. He's made a lot of them. He also makes records for other people. You've probably heard some of them. Mike also likes swords and looking at weird things in antique stores. He raises ducks and geese or some kind of bird. He also raises kids. Life is funny and Mike McClure laughs at it.
Wade Bowen
Wade Bowen
As Wade Bowen looks ahead to the full-length release of his major-label debut and his emerging transition from regional success to national prominence, there was one vital dynamic affecting the timing: his fans. Across five independent albums and a decade-plus of touring, Bowen not only amassed a string of regional hits and awards, but also the kind of fan base whose passionate anticipation motivated the timing behind the May 2012 release of The Given, a 10-song collection and his first new music since 2008's If We Ever Make It Home.

Indeed, in the fourteen years since Bowen launched his career at Stubb's Barbecue in Lubbock, Texas, he's risen from collegiate greenhorn to the top of the Texas music and Red Dirt circuit. His colleagues and friends Pat Green, Jack Ingram, Eli Young Band and others had made the major-label leap, helping to take a vibrant regional sound to the rest of America. Now Bowen is poised to bring that Red Dirt and independent spirit to country music at large.

Make no mistake, this collection is a document of artistic evolution. Longtime fans (and there are quite a few of them) will hear the Bowen they've known and the next steps on his journey. They'll get better acquainted with the ballad singer who doesn't often get a chance to show that side of himself in honky tonks. Newcomers will hear a head-turning country artist with range, road-tested hits and one of the best male voices in the business.

That voice truly jumps out of these tracks. Wade's baritone is dense and concentrated, with traces of whisky and smoke and an autumnal warmth. Bowen takes command of his songs, cutting over the top of producer Justin Niebank's sculpted guitar-scapes. The sound is one hundred percent country, rife with pedal steel and vivid emotion, but it's also music that could easily find a home with fans of Bowen's rock idols – folks like Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne. Take a few passes through this project and you'll hearing a singer's singer and a focused songwriter who's adding layers to his music all the time.

"All this work and the care we've taken with this album just fall in the category of trying to get better," says Bowen. "When it comes to my intent as a musician, I've not changed anything since day one. I've only tried to mature and tried to get better, and I think this record is representative of that." On a live circuit where the overwhelming mandate is to stir up a party, Bowen has aimed to leave folks with a memory. As a writer, even one from a state with some tall literary traditions, he's not trying to earn a PhD in poetry; he's trying to communicate. "My style," he says, "is more to try to evoke an emotion. I'm more about trying to leave a mark on people."

Growing up in Waco, Bowen's exposure to the music of Texas was limited to whatever made it on FM country radio. George Strait was king. Guy Clark was a name he'd not have recognized before getting to college. But at school, in Lubbock, he discovered the full spectrum of Texas artistry, starting with Robert Earl Keen. "He was a big changing point in my life," says Wade. "I realized by listening to him that there was way more out there than I ever knew. So I started getting into Guy Clark and other great Texas music. But I was obsessed with Robert Earl. When we started the band we were sort of a Robert Earl cover band."

That band was called West 84, and they found that with their large posse of friends who'd always show up for a good time, it was easy to land gigs. Bowen meanwhile began to channel a lifelong love of writing into songs, and when college ended he made two major decisions. He took on the role of solo artist, and he moved to Austin. By then, about 2001, fellow Waco native Pat Green had busted out to national prominence and the Texas music phenomenon was the buzz of Nashville. It was part of Wade Bowen's inspiration to charge ahead.

Try Not To Listen is the album Wade regards as his true debut, the project that kicked off a life and living made of 200-plus nights a year on the road and patient grassroots fan development. Then with Lost Hotel in 2006, things really began to click. The opening track "God Bless This Town" reached No. 1 on the bellwether Texas Music Chart, and over the next six years, he released six more chart-toppers and three additional top fives. He achieved another landmark when he was invited to add his name to the roster of great artists who've made a Live At Billy Bob's CD/DVD combo at the iconic club in Fort Worth. With a decade that good, it was inevitable that Music Row would become interested.

The origins of Bowen's Nashville record deal can be traced to his music publisher, Sea Gayle Music. It's where Brad Paisley, Radney Foster, Jerrod Niemann and others do their songwriting, and in 2010, it was the first indie company to be named ASCAP Country Publisher of the Year since 1982. Sea Gayle has a track record of investing in artists and helping them reach their potential, and that's how they've worked with Bowen, ultimately backing this album and introducing its independently made sound to Sony Music Nashville. Step one in that process was to find a producer who could preserve Wade's vision yet find the sweet spot that would help his music have its best chance at country radio. "Of all the producers we talked to, Justin Niebank was the only one who said, 'I need to come down and see you live,'" says Bowen. "Well, after 13 years of doing this I'd hope someone would want to see what we do, why we have fans. He totally got it and based the whole sound of this record around that."

That live immediacy certainly throbs on disc-opener "Saturday Night," which tracks the internal monologue of a lonesome hombre sitting on his stool, nursing his drink and thinking about "that sad goodbye." Its chiming descending guitar riff will be the first thing many audiences hear from Wade, his calling card. Also likely to grab listeners early is "Patch Of Bad Weather," a brisk, rocking take-down of a treacherous lover. It paints dramatic pictures of a stormy Texas landscape and it kicks like a gun. A further highlight is a cover of Guy Clark's "To Live Is To Fly," in a duet with the man himself.

Bowen has also taken advantage of his recent songwriting sessions and the comfortable studio environment fostered by Niebank to develop his love of ballad singing and the emotional side of country music. "All That's Left" brings strings into the mix, and it works. Bowen sounds at home. In "Say Anything," a guy can't think of a thing to say to a girl he's just met except gush on about the one he let get away, so he shuts up and listens. Its chorus will surely make some leading male country singers wish they'd been given a shot at the song. "I love those songs like that. Sad ballads," says Bowen with an apologetic shrug. "That's where my passion is. 'Say Anything' is one of my favorite tracks on the record."

So think of The Given as a gift to the fans and a teaser for even better things to come. Wade knows full well how much his fans have given him over the years, and he's more than happy to plan a long career ahead giving everything he can back.

"This record, like everything in my life, is not necessarily what I planned or even asked for," says Wade. "But this is, thankfully, what has been given to me. I'm a very lucky and blessed man. And I have The Given to thank for that."
Jamie Lin Wilson
Jamie Lin Wilson
When describing Jamie Wilson's voice, two aspects come to mind: that honeyed tenor twang that's become known as one of the sweetest instruments in modern folk music, and that poignant, poetic, down-to-earth point of view she brings to her songwriting. The spotlight shines brighter than ever on both with Holidays & Wedding Rings, her May 2015 release. Even fans may be surprised to realize it’s the first full-length solo album from one of brightest and busiest stars in her recent years amid the folk/Americana/independent country music scene.

An artist of singular talent and restless creativity, she broke into the Texas country/folk scene as one of the co-lead vocalists of the Gougers before the band gradually gave way to not only Wilson's solo work (the fine EP "Dirty Blonde Hair" was released in 2010) but also higher-profile musical adventures with The Trishas, an all-female singer-songwriter band that has toured through some of the state and nation's best venues. Scoring one of the best albums of 2012 with "High Wide & Handsome,” the Trishas lit up the genre for a few years while always leaving Wilson room for solo gigs, guest spots on over a dozen albums by now, and song-swaps with like-minded artists all over Texas and beyond.

Both deeply personal and solidly collaborative, Holidays & Wedding Rings is an evident labor of love from the sort of songwriter who can delve into the sweetness of family life without hitting sap. Someone who can dig into heartache without wallowing in it, go slow and subtle and still leave a listener rapt. Someone who can share the spotlight with top-flight musicians: veteran Texas music hands John Ross Silva, Scott Davis, Cody Foote and Reckless Kelly’s David Abeyta are all in the mix here, along with alt-country star Wade Bowen on a spine-tingling duet/co-write. Wilson’s home life as a wife and mom come through often in her music (and are known to many of her fans through her humorous social media profiles) but creatively, she can portray lonesome and restless with the best of them.

Multiple approaches, countless gigs, several years and nearly a million miles into what promises to be a grand career, Jamie Wilson not only runs with a good crowd: she never fails to stand out.
William Clark Green
William Clark Green
William Clark Green Is not one for pulling punches. Where some songwriters trade in subtlety and dancing around blunt truths with clever feints and metaphor, Clark aims his words straight to the point and, when needed, right through the heart. His music is unrelentingly direct and hard-hitting, too, charged with a palpable rock ’n’ roll immediacy that’s as evident in his most intimate solo acoustic performances as it is in the full-tilt band shows that have packed rooms across his native Lone Star State from the Blue Light in Lubbock to the world’s biggest honkytonk, Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth. And with the April 21st release of Ringling Road, his eagerly awaited fourth album, Green is set to make his biggest impact on the booming Texas/Red Dirt music scene — and beyond — yet.

But just don’t call him the “Next Big Thing,” because as Green makes patently clear on Ringling Road’s riotously myth-busting opening track, that’s a laugh, buddy. And even with tongue firmly in cheek, William Clark Green is only interested in being real.

“Oh it’s hard to pay your dues when there ain’t no money in the bank
It’s a shame I gotta make it to the show but there ain’t no gas in the tank
It’s insane what you do for a broken heart and some busted strings
And everybody saying I’m the next big thing!”

“I’m actually a little nervous about what people are going to think of that song, and if they’ll think I’m being an asshole,” Clark admits with a laugh. “And that’s not the case at all, because it’s actually sarcastic as hell. But we’ve been hearing that ‘you’re the next big thing’ thing for a long time now — and I’m guilty of saying the same to some of my songwriter friends who are struggling out there, too. And even though it’s always meant in a nice way, you can’t help but think, ‘What? I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m actually sleeping in my truck tonight!”

Not that he’s complaining. Green is nothing if not fully committed to his chosen path. Granted, had a few chips fallen a little differently, he could have just as easily — and happily — devoted his life to ranching, but fate dictated pretty early on that he was meant to be a troubadour. He may have started taking guitar lessons at 13 primarily out of boredom — his family had just moved from Flint, Texas to College Station in the summer, and he didn’t have any new school friends yet — but it wasn’t long before he developed a keen interest in songwriting. A healthy obsession with his father’s copy of Willis Alan Ramsay’s classic 1972 debut had a lot to do with that (“That’s still the best album I’ve ever heard, and the reason I use three names,” Green enthuses). So did timing: “I remember seeing Robert Earl Keen and Pat Green and even Jerry Jeff Walker at the Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater in College Station when I was in high school,” he says. “The scene was really kind of in its birth then, and I was right there in the middle, paying attention and really intrigued by all of it.”

College originally wasn’t part of his game plan — “I was a very poor student, and I still wanted to be a cowboy” — but after a lead on a ranch-hand job fell through and a miserable two-week stint at a feed lot scared him straight, Green enrolled in junior college and eventually found his way to Texas Tech. He majored in agriculture economics, but spent more time songwriting and playing guitar at every open-mic night and hotel bar gig he could find than actually studying. By the time fellow Red Raider and Texas country rising star Josh Abbott handed him the keys to his Tuesday-night residency at the Blue Light, Green and his own band were on their way.

“That’s when things got really serious for me,” Green recalls. “I came out with my first record [2008’s Dangerous Man], and it kind of got to the point where I knew if I was going to pursue music, I’d have to give it everything I had, because there’s just no room for half-assing it in this business. School went to the wayside — I ended up graduating, but it took six years because music was my priority. And here I am now at 28 — about to release our fourth album and hoping to get to five before I’m 30. That’ll be a pretty quick turn around, but that’s the goal.”

The aforementioned “next big thing” rumors started up in the wake of his second album, 2010’s Misunderstood, but it was 2013’s Rose Queen that proved his real breakthrough. Green recorded the album, produced by Rachel Loy in Nashville, at a real crossroads in his career — with momentum and high expectations at his back but barely enough money in the bank to foot the bill (and that only after a desperate call for help to angel investor Wade Bowen saved the day). “It was a huge leap of faith,” Green says today, “but I told the band, ‘We’re going to pull out all the stops, and we’re going to find a way to make exactly the record we want to make and need to make.” The end result was a triumph, yielding Green’s first three top-10 Texas Radio hits, including two chart-toppers in “She Likes the Beatles” and “Hanging Around” (the former also won “Song of the Year” honors at the fan-voted Lone Star Music Awards).

Of course, all of that set the bar even higher for the follow-up — and Ringling Road delivers in spades. Returning to Nashville to team once again with Loy (Green calls working with the gifted up-and-coming producer “the best decision I’ve ever made in my musical career”), the band overcame a a couple of early setbacks — longtime drummer Jay Saldana had recently left for a new gig with Wade Bowen, followed by guitarist Steve Marcus breaking his arm a week before they went into the studio — to come through like champs under pressure. Saldana ended up coming back as a guest to drum on most of the record (along with new band member Ryan Garza), while the lead guitars duties were initially shared between Nashville session vet Kenny Greenberg and band friend Josh Serrato, recruited out of fellow Texas band Six Market Boulevard for what originally supposed to be “fill-in” duty. By the time Marcus’ arm healed up enough for him to join the sessions halfway through, though, Serrato had been promoted from temp to full-time band member. Greenberg ended up staying on for the rest of the record as well.

“All three of those guys are monster talents on guitar, so It was a really incredible experience to have them all working with each other in the studio,” Green marvels. “It all just happened the way it was supposed to, and we weren’t going to get in the way of that!”

With that formidable triple-guitar threat augmented by Green on acoustic, seasoned band member Cameron Moreland on bass and key assists from Loy and others on background vocals and a few other instrumental tracks, it’s no wonder that Ringling Road boasts the fullest sound of any WCG album to date. But as has been the case since day one of Green’s career, it’s the quality of his songs that ultimately makes the boldest statement. And it’s not just the flatout rockers (“Next Big Thing”) and irresistibly catchy, up-tempo numbers (“Sticks and Stones,” “Creek Don’t Rise,” “Going Home”) that hit hard, either. Other highlights include “Old Fashioned,” a stirring elegy for a bygone Texas (“The interstate’s pumping just like a vein full of California license plates”), and the uproarious, Todd Snider-worthy title track, which takes its name from a real road in Green’s current hometown of Eastland, Texas. Back in the day, the Ringling Bros. Circus used Eastland as a regular resting stop between shows, where the elephants and other animals were let off the train for a drink and the myriad circus folk would unwind and do whatever circus folk usually do on their nights off. As colorfully imagined by Green and co-writers Ross Cooper and Randal Clay, that was a helluva lot more wild and entertaining than the actual ticketed performances.

“Ross is a good friend of mine from Lubbock, and Randal is a guy he met in Nashville who was actually a roustabout for 10 years,” Green explains. “I mean, what better way to write a song about the circus than to write it with a guy like that? Randal brought in a lot of truths about what really does happen behind the scenes in the circus. To be honest, after I told them about Eastland and the history of Ringling Road, he and Ross just got going on this tangent that was so good, I kind of just sat back and was like, ‘keep going!’”

“Ringling Road,” the song, may be a freak-show blast, but the rest of the album is hardly all fun and circus games. “Final This Time” is a devastatingly frank post-mortem of a divorce Green witnessed between two close friends. “Fool Me Once” and “Hey Sarah,” two of the three songs (along with “Sticks and Stones”) that Green wrote solo, are unflinching accounts of his own firsthand experiences at bad (or at least uncertain) love. And the lead single “Sympathy” (already a No. 1 on Texas radio) offers anything but sympathy to a former lover looking for a shoulder to cry on.

Most brutal of all, though, is the hauntingly plaintive “Still Think About You,” in which the kind of sympathy Green does offer an ex comes laced with painfully bitter honesty: “Sorry that you fell in love with someone you could never inspire …”

“You know, it’s not that I’m an asshole,” Green says again, laughing. “But I feel like everybody has those selfish feelings sometimes, but they’re never said in songs. I actually showed that song — I had the chorus written but still needed the verses — to Randy Rogers and Sean McConnell, and they both went, ‘oh, that’s not my style.’ And I thought, ‘Well, maybe this is a terrible idea …’”

Before giving up on it, though, Green showed it to one other trusted friend: Kent Finlay, songwriter’s songwriter, founder of the legendary Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas, and, not for nothing, Green’s co-writer on Rose Queen’s hit single “Hanging Around.” Sage soul that he was, Finlay — who sadly passed away on March 2, 2015 after a long illness — took a shine to the unfinished song at first pitch.

“I took it to Kent and said, ‘I’ve got this song, and no one seems to like it,’” Green recalls. “But I played what I had for him, and he went, ‘Oh, I like that!’ And I was like, ‘Thank God, finally somebody does!’ So we ended up finishing it together, and I’m really glad we did.

“Taking uncomfortable feelings like that and putting them to paper and writing songs about them — that’s kind of been my staple, really,” Green continues. “And that song is about as true as it gets.”

He pauses on that thought for a moment. “Now, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing,” he adds with a laugh, “but I guess the truth prevails! And that makes me able to sleep at night.”
BJ Barham
BJ Barham
Raleigh, NC – In the business of music, many are called and many may try, but few cross the threshold of being able to say they are truly committed for the long haul. With the release of their latest studio album, Burn.Flicker.Die., American Aquarium is proving that they have graduated to that class of professional musicians that have made an undeniable commitment to their music and their fans.

American Aquarium's six years as a band have been a fast-moving blur of rubber on road, touring coast to coast through the states and Europe. Most nights of the year are spent far from their Raleigh homes, squinting out from bright stages at a growing legion of passionate fans who've followed them through the release of six albums that reflect a whirlwind of too many whiskey soaked nights, nameless women in smoky bars and fast living while your youth is in full bloom. But what happens when it all stops feeling good?

Burn.Flicker.Die. is what has emerged from that scenario for this group of hard working players. After two years of writing, they journeyed to the legendary recording hub which gave birth to some of the greatest blues, country and rock records of all time: Muscle Shoals/Sheffield, AL. Recorded in eight days under the precise hand of friend/tour buddy Jason Isbell, the record is an aptly named milestone for the band, and their most painstaking effort to date. As a long-time Southern rock artisan, Isbell provided a weathered know-how in producing the record American Aquarium is proudest of. Described as a "consequence record" by vocalist BJ Barham, the band spent that week pushing out everything that's been haunting them: working for six years, watching buzz bands peak and die, and pining for their own payoff.

"I wish my addictions didn't mean so much/but we all can't be born with that kind of luck," Barham sings on the title track, capturing the fast lifestyle with images of subtle barroom horrors: Finding a high in a dingy bathroom stall, a pretty barfly from somewhere down south you won't see again, free shots you can't say no to. "Casualties" is a soaring, chorus-less ode to death by rock that confronts age and the band's great fear of having made the wrong choice. They've watched artists ride the hype train right off the track. But that can't be American Aquarium – they've been laying low too long, finding their way to the most poignant album of their careers through hard touring and waking up to realize that it's not Saturday night anymore.

Some of the record hurts to hear, like the quiet, fine-spun "Harmless Sparks." It sounds like the flicker of a solitary cigarette burning to its filter in the blue-black glow of a bar. Keys plink like shot glasses in the background, and you're the last to go home. American Aquarium has been there before. But the record also looks to the end of a hard road, where there might be validation for good music, and even love. In "Jacksonville," Barham promises someone a call if he "makes it out alive." Taking a cue from Ryan Adams, he draws romance out of shame in "Northern Lights." And in "Saturday Nights" and "Saint Mary's," he makes a subtle mockery of the dives they know too well – slick with spilled whiskey and crawling with restless women who all look the same.

Every grizzled image of Burn.Flicker.Die is real, which comes from the band's profound understanding of small southern town debauchery and six years of pushing their careers off the bottom rung. Like many of their musical heroes that have paved the way before them, American Aquarium can wrap the ugliest feelings in the most spirited soundscape. Sonically uplifting instrumentation and vivid, wrenching lyrics illuminate the dark side of hanging out in rock 'n' roll limbo, but also how the band has clawed their way out of it. Through their struggle to sustain their career and resist the temptation of fire, American Aquarium's demons have hung around. But so have they.

DISCOGRAPHY:
Burn.Flicker.Die (2012)
Live in Raleigh (2012)
Small Town Hymns (2010)
Dances for the Lonely (2009)
Bones (2008)
The Bible & The Bottle (2008)
Antique Hearts (2006)
Venue Information:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N Main St.
Tulsa, OK, 74103
http://www.cainsballroom.com