Aaron Lewis is a “Country Boy” and proud of it — even if it comes as a surprise to some fans.
Lewis is best-known as the frontman for the hard rock group Staind, which has sold 15 million albums worldwide and three titles that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. But “Town Line,” Lewis’ solo EP, put him atop a different chart — country — which he says comes as naturally to him as headbanging.
“It’s just kind of the natural progression of the way I write,” says Lewis, 39, who credits his grandfather with instilling a love of country when Lewis was a child, and Kid Rock for reconnecting him with those roots when Staind toured with him in 1999. “It just reminded me of how much I loved that music. Now you’d be hard pressed to find me listening to rock radio.”
Lewis says the songs on “Town Line” — including the CMT Music Awards-nominated single “Country Boy” with guests George Jones, Charlie Daniels and Chris Young — are “a little more about people, places and things than there was in the past. Most of the time in the past it was all feelings. These songs are a little more autobiographical.”
And he’s both pleased and surprised by how warmly he’s been received by the country community.
“It’s been great,” notes Lewis, who’s also working on a new album with Staind. “There’s gonna be some negative, jaded haters, always. But that’s been the 2 percent. The other 98 percent or 97 percent like it and have been so supportive. It’s been a great experience.”
Aaron Lewis performs at 7:35 p.m. Friday, May 13, at the WYCD Downtown Hoedown in Detroit's Hart Plaza. Admission is free. Visit www.wycd.com for schedules and other information.