OFFSTAGE: Aaron Lewis on Jason Aldean, Tattoos and Hunting

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Aaron Lewis wasn’t always a “Country Boy.” He was a rock star with his alt-metal band Staind. That means that I’d never heard of him before he showed up in country music. I especially love the part in his “Country Boy” video where Lewis is walking out of the woods with his guitar in one hand and a hunting rifle in the other. We had a chance to talk last time I was in Nashville and he told me what he loved most about getting to shine a light on his roots.

“This whole experience has been different because I had a lot more control. This was my concept for a video and we didn’t have to spend very much money. We just stepped onto the road in front of my house,” he said. Before, he said it was usually a bunch of people using someone else’s idea. “This time, using my idea seems to have worked,” he said. I agree. Simple ideas are the best.

His video has scenes of Lewis recording in the studio (with George Jones and Charlie Daniels, by the way), hunting deer with a bow and arrow and playing guitar on the bed of his pick-up truck. Some of his favorite county songs right now are from Jason Aldean, who he loves, Chris Young and Jamey Johnson. Of the latter, Lewis says, “His videos bring a tear to my eye.”

Lewis doesn’t exactly look like the kind of guy who cries very often. The tattoos paint a much different picture. When I asked about all the ink, he looked himself up and down and said, “It’s definitely kind of an affliction. It starts with one and next thing you know, you’re sleeved and they’re going up your neck.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.