"I grew up in the woods of New Hampshire…. I have more country in me than people think," Aerosmith's Steven Tyler tells Rolling Stone Country, proving his point by singing the first few lines of the band's 1993 smash, "Cryin'" (which, mixed with a little steel guitar, could very well make for a great country song.) "Aerosmith always crossed the line," he continues, "whether it was with 'Dream On' or 'Train Kept a Rollin',' or even 'Walk This Way' with Run DMC. And we sang with Carrie Underwood on our last album."
Tyler's duet with Underwood on the country-tinged power ballad, "Can't Stop Loving You," from Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension! album — along with their 2011 ACM Awards performance of the country superstar's "Undo It" and many duets on a 2012 episode of CMT Crossroads — make for just a few of many reasons the rock legend is slowly becoming Nashville's favorite son. Back in 2006, he collaborated with country star Keith Anderson on the raucous "Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll." And much to the delight of a few hundred fans jam-packed in Nashville's famed Tootsie's Orchid Lounge last year, Tyler joined Keith Urban for a surprise show in celebration of his fellow American Idol judge's Fuse album. This week, he presented at the 48th annual CMA Awards and will join Brad Paisley for a duet on tonight's CMA Country Christmas TV taping.
Tyler's country music brownie points keep racking up…. The iconic rocker and rising country star Jana Kramer reveal exclusively to Rolling Stone Country that they have recorded a duet called "Bullet" for Kramer's next album. She co-wrote the tune with Aerosmith's longtime producer Marti Frederiksen, who also happened to write "Undo It" and Aerosmith's "Jaded," among other rock and country hits. When Frederiksen played Kramer's song for Tyler, it was love at first listen.
"I heard the song and went, 'Send me the track!'" Tyler says. "So she sent me the files, and I went, 'Can I sing on that?' So I sang every part she had. It's a really cool track."
To Kramer, cool is an understatement.
"I'm in the studio and they're like, 'Holy crap, we just got background vocals from Steven Tyler!'" she recalls. "I put cans on and listened and immediately started crying. I FaceTimed my parents and my brother and was like, 'Listen to this! It's Steven freakin' Tyler!'"
Kramer is gunning for "Bullet" to be her next single, following the upcoming album's soaring, whimsical first tune, "Love." The former One Tree Hill actress, who was the ACM's Top New Female Vocalist in 2013, is now putting the finishing touches on her second country album, due early next year.