The debate over what constitutes country is one that dates back decades, but singer Aaron Lewis has decided to jump right into the contentious fray with his new song "That Ain't Country." It's the first release from the Staind front man's forthcoming solo album Sinner — his first with Big Machine affiliate Dot Records.
Produced by Buddy Cannon (George Strait, Kenny Chesney), "That Ain't Country" makes use of a Nineties Alan Jackson-style shuffle with Telecaster twang and liberal steel to fire its poison arrows at unspecified contemporary targets. Using the perception that all modern country is about feeling good and that all classic country is about desperation, Lewis sets up his thesis: "That ain't country. That's a natural fact. It's full of tales of good times and happy endings and my life ain't like that." Later, he name checks Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, David Allan Coe and a list of other male stars he finds to be the essence of country. Hear it below, via Spotify.
Sinner is already available for pre-order and will be digitally released on July 15th. Lewis wrote or co-wrote nine of the 11 tracks on the album, which also includes versions of Chris Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller's "Whiskey and You" (recorded for Stapleton's Traveller) and Bruce Robison's "Travelin' Soldier (recorded by the Dixie Chicks for Home). Willie Nelson also makes an appearance on the title cut.
Here is the Sinner track listing:
1. “Sinner” (featuring Willie Nelson) (Aaron Lewis)
2. “That Ain’t Country” (Aaron Lewis)
3. “Whiskey And You” (Lee Thomas Miller, Chris Stapleton)
4. “Northern Redneck” (Aaron Lewis)
5. “Mama” (Aaron Lewis)
6. “Sunday Every Saturday Night” (Aaron Lewis, Ira Dean)
7. “Lost And Lonely” (Aaron Lewis)
8. “Story Of My Life” (Aaron Lewis)
9. “Stuck In These Shoes” (Aaron Lewis)
10. “I Lost It All” (Aaron Lewis)
11. “Travelin’ Soldier” (Bruce Robison)