Staind frontman Aaron Lewis has been talking about some sort of solo release for years. It’s finally coming on March 1 — and isn’t exactly what some of the hard rock band’s fans might expect.
“Town Line” is the title of an EP that includes the title song and several other tracks, recorded in Nashville with veteran producer James Stroud and featuring cameos by George Jones, Charlie Daniels and Chris Young. And, yes, it finds Lewis thanking the deity of his choice that he’s a country boy.
“It’s kind of coming full circle,” explains Lewis, 38. “I grew up on country. There isn’t a memory of my grandfather that doesn’t have country music associated with it. He listened to all the old stuff — Hank (Williams) Sr. and Jr. and Merle Haggard and George Jones and Charlie Daniels and David Allen Coe, all the best of the best.
“There are songs I wrote over the years on my own and then brought them to the band — songs like ‘Outside,’ ‘It’s Been Awhile,’ ‘So Far Away,’ ‘Everything Changes’ ... I chose to bring them to the band to finish, but if I took those songs and put country accompaniment over them just like I did on this EP, you’d definitely hear the continuity.”
Lewis, who’s also working on a new Staind album the group hopes to release this year, says there was a time he “moved away” from his early country influences. But he credits Kid Rock with re-awakening that part of his musical makeup.
“When we were out with him for our first big, major tour in 1999,” Lewis recalls, “on a few different occasions I rode the bus to the next city with him ’cause the party wasn’t over yet. And the whole time we were riding down the road there was that old country music playing.
“I’d be sitting there listening to it, and it all started sinking in. It was kind of like a trip down memory lane for me, and I recognized all the songs. It was odd to me how familiar they were, and it just reminded me how much I loved that music. It’s a big part of who I am.”
Aaron Lewis performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $40 and $37. Call 313-237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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