Following a mostly good-natured back-and-forth on Twitter with DJ Bobby Bones, outspoken rock and country singer Aaron Lewis called into Bones’ radio show yesterday to clarify his incendiary onstage comments about Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and today’s country sound. During a September 4th concert at a motorcycle rally in Loveland, Colorado, the Staind singer, who releases his new country album Sinner today, blasted Bryan, Hunt, Dan + Shay and Cole Swindell for “choking all the life out of country music.”
But Lewis backpedaled somewhat on The Bobby Bones Show in an at-times awkward interview. (Listen to the interview below.)
“You have to put it into context,” he told the popular DJ. “This was a motorcycle rally in Colorado where everybody was on their way to Sturgis … I was playing to the crowd.”
Lewis’ onstage comments did get a thunderous response, but the singer says he was lambasting the pop-country movement more than any individual artist.
“I’ve actually sat and gotten quite drunk with Dan + Shay. I don’t hate them at all. This was not an attack on their personal character in any way, shape or form,” he said. “I’m not calling them out. What I’m calling out is the connection between the music that they’re choosing to put out and the music that defines the genre.”
Lewis’ new album leans heavily on a classic-country sound, with the bulk of the songs taking introspective looks into the tortured human soul. Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss and Vince Gill all guest star on the record.
In the end, Lewis acknowledged to Bones that he didn’t have to name names, but stopped short of retracting his comments.
“I wasn’t trying to piss in anybody’s Corn Flakes … maybe I didn’t need to pull anybody’s name into it, but I stand behind the statement that I made,” he said.
For Bones, who boasted to Rolling Stone Country in July that he’s the “best interviewer in the whole format,” the Lewis exchange offered a rare glimpse behind Music Row’s politically correct curtain.
Said Bones at the start of the call: “I like it when people share opinions in an industry where people don’t share opinions.”