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Staind's Aaron Lewis goes country

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 – Staind front man Aaron Lewis grew up with country, but you wouldn't know it from his hard rocking band, which has enjoyed hits with "Outside, It's Been Awhile and So Far Away.

But now the New Englander is returning to roots. Lewis is releasing a five-song EP, "Town Line," through Stroudavarious Records sometime in February.

The first single and video, Country Boy, makes its debut on CMT.com on Wednesday, Dec. 1 with a TV premiere on Monday, Dec. 6. George Jones and Charlie Daniels and Chris Young lend their talents.

The single will be available digitally on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Lewis will be on the road starting Jan. 15, 2011 for a run of solo acoustic dates.

"George Jones and Charlie Daniels are two of the genre's legends, and Chris Young represents the new regime," said Lewis. "It's definitely a personal, autobiographical song, and I'm very thankful that they all participated."

The video features Jones, Daniels and Young in the studio and draws from Lewis' family archives. "The video really is me. This is probably the most I've ever participated in any video that I've been involved with. I added a lot to the mix to tell the story."

Growing up in rural Vermont, the singer/songwriter spent summers with his World War II veteran grandfather hunting and fishing.

"Country was the background music to my childhood," Lewis said. "My grandfather listened to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr. and all of the greats. When Staind did our first tour with Kid Rock in 1999, I rode the bus with him on a couple occasions, and we bonded over this music. I haven't been able to let go of it since then."

James Stroud and Lewis co-produced the music. "The country accompaniment naturally complements my acoustic guitar playing," he said. "These songs are country in the sense of classic Americana. They're simple, understated and founded on quality songwriting. If you put a country accompaniment to any of the songs that I've written over the years on my acoustic, all of them would work as country tunes. When a song comes from an acoustic, it can go in any direction you want it to go. I always write and play the same way. The only difference here is the accompaniment."

The song Massachusetts is a love letter for his home state. "I live in the sticks of Massachusetts," said Lewis. "I wrote the song sitting on the front steps of my house. In the spring, the peepers get so loud outside. When they come out, they bring on the night. It's chilling and familiar, and I've heard that sound my whole life. That's how I know I'm home."

Lewis re-recorded Tangled Up in You, a ballad from Staind's sixth album, "The Illusion of Progress." "The song was already a little bit country in term of its flavor with the slide guitar and the pedal steel," he said. "We brought it further down that road."

"A lifetime friendship was formed between James and I while we were doing these songs," said Lewis. "As the head of the label and producer, he possessed an incredible amount of faith and belief in this project. It just made sense on so many levels."

"We just immediately developed a very intense musical and personal connection," said Stroud. "I'd always loved the expressiveness and intensity of Aaron's voice, but from the very first day in the studio, we hit it off in an entirely special way."

Tour dates are:

Jan. 15 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun

Jan. 28 North Las Vegas, NV Aliante Casino

Jan. 29 Temecula, CA Pechanga Casino

Feb. 18-19 Atlantic City, NJ The Borgata

Febl. 20 Westbury, NY Westbury Music Fair

March 3 Detroit, MI Motor City Casino

March 4-5 Verona, NY Turning Stone Casino

March 17 Snoqualmie, WA Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom

March 18 Reno, NV Silver Legacy Resort & Casino

March 19 Las Vegas The Joint - Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

March 26 Walker, MN Northern Lights

April 14 Elizabeth, IN Horseshoe Southern Indiana

April 15 Robinsonville, MS Horseshoe Tunica - Bluesville

April 16 Biloxi, MS Hard Rock Biloxi

April 21 Council Bluffs, IA Harrah's Council Bluffs

April 22 N. Kansas City, MO Harrah's North Kansas City

More news for Aaron Lewis

CD reviews for Aaron Lewis

Sinner CD review - Sinner
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. »»»
The Road CD review - The Road
Who would have ever thought that, in looking for one of the next more promising acts in country, we'd be turning to none other than seasoned rock and roller, Aaron Lewis, of Staind fame? Add to that the fact that Lewis hails from Massachusetts, a far throw from the Mason-Dixon Line, and you're faced with quite a head-scratcher. Yet, on his 2010 EP "Town Line" the artist showed that he had the right stuff and his first full-length country release, "The Road," delivers »»»
Town Line CD review - Town Line
If you take the hard rock power chords away from singer/songwriter Aaron Lewis and replace these strums with steel guitar lines, you don't end up with anything all that different. Producer James Stroud has done a good job bringing Lewis' songs to life on this 7-song EP (with the title track featured a whole three different times, in slightly different variations), but he has not transformed the man into a Darius Rucker-like country singer - yet. Whether Lewis is complaining about the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
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