American Aquarium will release their new album Things Change on June 1. The album represents a new start for lead singer BJ Barham. The North Carolina-based singer-songwriter assembled a new band after amicably parting ways with longtime band members last year.
So it’s fitting that the album’s first single is the uplifting “Tough Folks,” a song about the kind of tenacity and determination that only comes from years of weathering life’s storms.
Filmed at an abandoned North Carolina racetrack, the video shows the band rocking out against the desolate backdrop. It’s interspersed with clips of Barham wandering around a small rural town.
Built on the refrain “tough times don’t last, only tough folks do,” the song is biographical for Barham, who references his upbringing in a town that suffered from economic depression when tobacco farming was no longer profitable.
“See I come from a long line of Carolina farmers / for years tobacco was the answer,” Barham sings. “It kept the lights on and kept food on the table ’til the doctor started callin’ it cancer.”
Read More: The 15 Best American Aquarium Songs, Ranked
Barham addressed the subject on his stellar 2016 acoustic album Rockingham with the song “American Tobacco Company.” But this time there’s a spirit of perseverance that’s especially important to hear right now. The song addresses the political divide in the U.S., but does so while offering positivity and understanding.
The revamped American Aquarium will kick off the Things Change album release tour on May 24 in Tulsa, Okla. For a complete list of tour dates, visit the band’s official website here.