American Aquarium Makes Long Awaited Grand Ole Opry Debut

A person playing a guitar next to a person holding a guitar
Joey Wharton

Playing at the Grand Ole Opry is the ultimate honor for most country artists.

The rich history and chance to step into the sacred circle where so many greats have stood before is a dream few people have the chance to realize.

Just last week, the great North Carolina-based band American Aquarium made their Opry debut. Frontman BJ Barham started the band in 2005 in his college dorm room and has spent years touring and playing shows in an effort to build a dedicated fan base of people who truly connect with his music.

After 12 records (including live albums and their recent cover album), the hard work finally culminated on the most historic stage in country music.

But, if you’ve never heard of them or haven’t listened to their music before, you should change that now. I can’t recommend them highly enough… and we have a great list to get you started in the right direction.

BJ took to Instagram to share his heartfelt thoughts on their big debut and photos from the night:

“Yesterday was magical. Almost two decades of blood, sweat and tears culminating into ten minutes on one of the most historic stages in all of music.

Gonna hold on to this memory for many years to come. Thanks to the Opry for bringing us into the circle and the unmatched kindness and hospitality they showed our families and crew.

Big thanks to every single of you that have supported this thing from the jump. Couldn’t have gotten here without y’all’s love and support and for that we are forever grateful.”

The Opry also shared a clip from the show and spoke to BJ right after he got off the stage. Of course, he was pretty high on everything and the fact that one of his bucket list dreams finally came true:

“Hey y’all, it’s BJ from the band American Aquarium. We just got done making our Opry debut I’m ridin’ pretty high right now, pretty elated.

15 years of hard work and 4,000 shows all led to 7 and a half minutes on stage. I’m not gonna forget this one for a while, this is a bucket list opportunity and thank you guys for having us on the Opry.”

15 years and 4,000 shows?

That type of work ethic and dedication is pretty much unmatched by many other artists in the industry.

But, it’s not surprising to hear that it’s taken that much to get them on the Opry stage, because BJ and his band are blue-collar in every sense of the term.

He’s fought like hell to get where he is and it’s all been worth it. It’s so rewarding to see guys like him and his band finally be recognized after all these years, and I think it’s just the beginning for them.

A week later, BJ’s still processing such a massive career highlight:

“It’s been a week since our Opry debut and I’m just now starting to truly process it. It’s been a wild and crazy ride these last fifteen years and I’m extremely thankful for every single one of you for taking it with me.”

A huge congrats to BJ and the boys. I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

This seems fitting…

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock