Aaron Lewis was born on April 13, 1972, in Rutland, Vermont. He was the frontman for the group Staind, a group that embarrassed the hard rock post-grunge sound of the early 00s; it was his songwriting that helped the group have staying power. The band split in 2011, and Lewis embarked on a solo career. However, instead of following in the same genre of music like many other artists do for their solo career, he went in a totally different direction, country music. Even though it seemed like an exciting switch, country music was part of his life long before other genres of music. While visiting his grandfather over summer vacation, they spent time listening to many legends in country music like Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr. His desire to pursue country music started when he was still with the group Staind. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Lewis recalls nights on the tour bus when none of the band members could sleep. During that time, he was listening to albums by classic country artists. As he explained it, “I really couldn’t escape from the inevitable, which is where we are now.”
Moreover, he spent time with who he deems “the ultimate rebel,” Kid Rock, who later crossed over as well. So far, the genre switch has worked out well for him. In 2011, he released his first album Town Line which was when he became fashioning his own style, one that sounded much like the country from a bygone age than some of the other up-and-coming country artists. The album shot to number seven on the Billboard Country charts. Five years later, he recorded Sinner, which went to number four on Billboard Top 200. He released one single, Folded Flag in 2017, but waited two more years before releasing State I’m in his latest album. These are the 10 best Aaron Lewis songs of all time.
10. Burnt the Sawmill Down
Keith Whitley wrote this song but never recorded it. Instead, it was part of Lewis’ 2019 album, State I’m In. The opening chords in the music sound more like the country from decades before than the era Lewis began his journey. Throughout the song, he channels the late country singer pitch perfectly. The lyrics reminisce about a man who had to flee the town he grew up in because he committed an act of vandalism in retribution for being told he couldn’t date her.
9. Stuck In These Shoes
When listening to this song, it’s hard not to think about the heyday of honkey tonks. However, Lewis takes this song from the stage and adds a more acoustic feel making it uniquely his own.
8. Folded Flag (acoustic version)
One of the things Lewis respects is the United States military and the sacrifices they make for our country. This song was written to honor them. It was part of the 2017 Home & Family Show on the Hallmark network. When Lewis’ performs the music, it’s only him and a guitar. It’s a touching tribute to the soldiers and the love they leave behind to defend our country.
7. State I’m In (featuring Alison Krauss)
Contained in the lyrics of this song is losing faith in something guiding you because you have had so many ups and downs on the road of life and have worked hard without results. The plaintiveness of the instruments and Lewis’ voice add to the melancholy message. The echo of Allison Krauss’ voice in the background is a beautiful addition to a touching song.
When listening to the blend of guitars and drums at the beginning of the song, it’s easy to hear the opening bars of the rebel country genre. As Lewis’ voice comes in, there are distinct elements of Hank Williams Jr. Again, he takes country music back to its roots on this song.
5. The Road
Anytime you hear an intro like the one in this song, it feels like a song you’d listen to while on a drive. The lyrics don’t disappoint. The lyrics are about the men and women who spend their lives on the road trying to make a living. It’s also about the struggles these people make and how difficult it can be to spend your life as a truck driver.
4. The Story Never Ends
Although many of Lewis’ songs are a part of the country culture with lyrics about guns, God, and other staples of the genre. This song sounds much more personal. Since Lewis is married with kids, you can hear how difficult it is for him to be on the road, missing the milestones. It’s also about how going back to the place you call home has a grounding effect unlike anywhere else.
3. Lost and Lonely
Even though it may have seemed unlikely that a singer who broke into the music scene as the frontman for hard rock, post-grunge band would be able to have a second incarnation as a country singer. Lewis’ brand of country shows its possible to not only do that but to also shine. This song’s lyrics embrace the rebels in life who do things by their own rules but still succeed with the love of a good woman.
2. Country Boy (featuring Chris Young, George Jones, and Charlie Daniels)
Lewis’ early exposure to country music and the respect he has for his grandfather are spotlighted in this song. Lewis has also admitted that this song also plays off Hank Williams Jr’s song A Country Boy Can Survive. The additions of other country music singers from the classic to the contemporary make this song a standout in new country music.
1. Am I The Only One
Throughout his solo career, Lewis has been a very outspoken Conservative. This song placed him higher on the Billboard charts than any other he’d released. Thanks to a lot of promotion by Conservative media outlets, it debuted at number 14 on the Hot 100. Since the lyrics were so crucial to Lewis, it’s only natural that he keeps the instrumentation simple with only his voice and a guitar. The lyrics are about disillusion when watching the news unfold and seeing a shift in the country.