Given the recent failed attempts by rock stars to crossover into country music (*cough* Steven Tyler), it’s hard to think that one more aging rock star could pull it off. But Aaron Lewis is doing it surprisingly well.
The Staind frontman drops his new country record, Sinner, on Sept. 19. On the new single of the same name, Lewis summons swampy tones that sound like a romp through Appalachian backwoods. Driven by a steady back beat and carried by Lewis’ brooding vocals and the hound dog howl of dobro, this track sounds authentically country.
That’s true about the song’s message too, but it’s less convincing than the tonalities. The lyrics are about the singer recognizing he’s a “sinner to the core” and asking for forgiveness and nothing more. Those are authentically country sentiments, but the writing and delivery here feel recycled.
Lewis also recruited Willie Nelson to sing a verse on the song. Nelson’s voice lends some more country cred to the track. But overall his performance doesn’t stand out, ultimately because the lyrics aren’t that strong.
All in all, this is an impressive country song, especially from the frontman of a rock band that used to share the bill with Limp Bizkit.
Take a listen to “Sinner” below.
Lewis’ first single off his upcoming country album, “That Ain’t Country,” is a throwback country shuffle that takes aim at the state of modern country. While it has a classic country sound, it follows a predictable pattern of name dropping classic country stars for country cred.
Aaron Lewis’ Sinners is available on Sept. 16. You can currently catch him on tour. For a list of his upcoming dates, click here