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American Aquarium, 'All I Needed'

Sometimes when you are down, just hearing the right song can bring you back up. For BJ Barham of N.C. country-rock band American Aquarium, he knows this quite well, having recently lost his mother and grandmother — as well as a longtime friend to suicide. As he describes it, "We have all had that feeling of driving around, feeling down and then, out of nowhere, a song comes on the radio that grabs you and won't let go. Almost as if the universe saw you struggling and personally hand delivered a 3.5-minute message to get you out of that rut."

In this case, "All I Needed" clocks in at just under three minutes, delivering a pedal steel-soaked, acoustic guitar-driven major-chord anthem which features Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers singing high harmony. American Aquarium leans into its aesthetic of celebrating the common folk, and will surely draw comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. Barham relishes such observations, though, just as he enjoys knowing that someone will feel less hurt and alone after listening to this song.

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Joe Kendrick