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Aaron Lewis

Sinner – 2016 (Dot)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Aaron Lewis

You hear all the time these days how politicians are 'evolving' on particular issues. They may have felt one way about a topic many years ago, but - nearly miraculously - they've since evolved. Aaron Lewis is the former singer for Staind, a noisy, pained hard rock band. But it's been a while since Lewis created alternative rock and roll. With "Sinner," he's truly evolved, musically. This is not some cynical, Alan Jackson gone country moment, either. He comes off fully sincere, through and through.

Lewis duets with Willie Nelson on this title track. That's not news. Most everybody, it seems, gets their chance to trade verses with The Red Headed Stranger, in almost the same way we all get our Andy Warhol mandated 15 minutes of fame. It's no Crossroads moment, friends. Lewis come off like two country singers, not one rock, one country. But it's Lewis' take on Chris Stapleton's "Whiskey and You" that seals the deal. You start to believe the song was made for a former hell raiser like Lewis because when he sings its confessional drinking and heartbreak lyrics, we believe he's lived these lines in real life.

Lewis treads lyrical waters similar to Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, yet ends up keeping it much more country than those two. You'd expect, with his rock roots, he'd talk and rock country. Instead he sings about the country (a little too pedestrianly during "Northern Redneck," though), while still keeping the sound diehard country. Someone get the word to Darwin's ghost: Aaron Lewis has decidedly evolved.