Country music flows from Staind frontman

By John Benson

Rocker-turned-country artist Aaron Lewis describes his songwriting process in graphic terms. For example, regarding his latest single “Forever,” the Staind frontman, well, doesn’t hold back.

“The song came vomiting out of me,” said Lewis, calling from somewhere in Texas. “I didn’t sit down to craft the song. That’s not usually how I do things. I don’t sit down with a pen and paper and try to craft the perfect song. It just comes out of my mouth. I just start spewing.”

As startling as this admission may be, the next question, naturally, is whether the regurgitation of a song is a sign it’s solid or does he indeed vomit out crappy tunes as well?

“It all just kind of comes out of me that way — the good, bad and otherwise,” Lewis said.

It’s all good these days for Lewis, whose recently released solo full-length debut, “The Road,” debuted at No. 7 in the Top 10 on the Billboard Country Albums charts and sold more than 20,000 albums in its first week.

Lewis, who wrote mellow Staind tunes such as “Outside,” “It’s Been a While,” “So Far Away,” “Everything Changes” and “Epiphany,” first ventured into the Nashville music scene last year with the release of EP “Town Line.” It turns out, originally, the Massachusetts native and resident planned on making that effort a full-length album, but contractual obligations with Staind required he put out another rock effort, which was the band’s 2011 self-titled affair.

Now with that behind him, Lewis is able to concentrate on the country tunes that apparently are coming out of him like pea soup in “The Exorcist.” This knowledge may lead some Staind fans to question whether any hard-rock songs are currently coming out of him?

“No, or else we’d be writing a Staind record, and I’d be working on that,” Lewis said. “I follow my inspiration. I’m a creatively driven person. That’s all I really got in this world is my creativity.”

When it’s pointed out Staind fans may be bummed, he added, “Hopefully they’re patient. I’ve made it extremely clear over and over again that the band is not breaking up. And that I’m just doing something else, and anybody who calls themselves a true fan should understand that if that’s not where my inspiration is, they shouldn’t be expecting me to go there.”

So this means Lewis is focusing on “The Road,” which he plans on touring through the spring. This includes a sold-out Saturday show at the Dusty Armadillo in Rootstown. Lewis’ Music City material, decidedly old-school influenced, is perfectly suited for the Jamey Johnson and David Allan Coe crowd.

More so, Lewis said the country industry has reached out to him to show their support.

“Without mentioning any names, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with people‘s reactions,” Lewis said.

We’re guessing Shania Twain has phoned her approval.

“Totally,” Lewis said, laughing. “She called me last night and was just raving about it.”

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