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
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