If it sounds like Aaron Lewis is long past defending his Country music pedigree, that would be a correct assessment. Lewis would prefer the music speak for itself and, with the release of SINNER, Lewis’ stunning Dot Records follow-up to his groundbreaking full-length solo debut The Road in 2012, any would-be detractors will be pretty much out of ammo.
Lewis, however, is not. SINNER blasts through today’s Country music doldrums like a shot of 100-proof whiskey, with the singer making zero compromises with either himself or the restrictions of a format that seems to have abandoned its rougher tendencies in favor of pop and ‘70s rock inclinations largely lacking in grit.
Few pop-tinged songs would dare feature lyrics as candid, biting and personal as those on SINNER. If “Country Boy,” with its swaggering bravado, was the opening salvo, the 11 songs on SINNER herald a man who admits—and often deeply regrets—his personal shortcomings, yet offers no excuses. SINNER captures what was going on in Lewis’ head at this point in his life; laid back with a soundtrack that harkens back to the Country genre’s most honest and musically adventurous artists.
The album is “as raw and as real and as un-messed with as it could possibly be,” according to Lewis, with the energy of a “band” record and an introspective tone that completely reflects the state of mind of Aaron Lewis. And, after putting his heart and soul on the line to create SINNER, Lewis feels similarly about how it lands in the marketplace. “You can’t make everybody happy,” he says, “so you put your best foot forward, you hope everybody likes it, and if they don’t, f- ‘em.”