News Column

Aaron Lewis goes country

November 10, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 10--Aaron Lewis grew up with country music in his ears.

His grandfather would play it constantly while babysitting him and it became the background music of his childhood.

"At the same time it was being ingrained in me, I was pushing it away, which is what a lot of kids do when they get older," Lewis said. "I went the other way and joined a rock band."

That band was called Staind and it would go on to have one of the most successful careers of the late 1990s and 2000s, with 15 million records sold worldwide.

With success came more requests, more tour dates and more pressure that each album be perfect. The group's recording process slowed to a grinding halt. Lewis said he spent six months in the studio working on the band's last release, and when it was done, he and the other members decided to take a break. With time on his hands and a new perspective on the world, Lewis found himself reconnecting with the country music of his childhood.

Always an excellent storyteller, music began pouring out of him.

"I didn't go the normal Nashville route of recording other people's songs; these are my stories," he said. "To me, using other people's songs is sort of cheating. It's skipping a step."

He wrote and recorded his solo album, "The Road," in 30 hours, teaching the session musicians the songs as he wrote them and recoding them in one or two takes. Coming off the lengthy sessions with Staind, this was a thrilling change for him.

"It was this inspired roller-coaster ride of an experience and it was something I had never done before," he said. "I was really inspired by the material and pleased with how it was coming out."

Lewis will be touring through Cheyenne tonight in support of the album, bringing with him a full country band. He said a small segment of the show would be solo and acoustic, but fans should expect a country show first and foremost.

"Down the line, I want to be able to play solo acoustic shows, country shows and Staind shows, but right now I am focusing on this country record and introducing people to that material," he said. "And for the most part, the fans I had have stuck with me and still come out to shows."

Staind is technically on a hiatus right now, and Lewis said he wasn't sure when the group would be back together.

"We worked really hard for a really long time without a break, so that's what we are doing right now, but ... we are just hibernating. Our paths will cross again," he said.

While his tour extends through the fall and winter, Lewis said he would be trying to get some recording time in Nashville along the way.

"I have a lot of songs that are already written and ready to go," he said. "Just have to find some time to get into the studio and record them."

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(c)2013 Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

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