When it comes to conversation, Aaron Lewis is a man of few words. Instead, he chooses to let his songs do the talking.
Rising to fame as the frontman for rock band Staind, the singer-songwriter released his debut country EP, Town Line, in 2011. The project garnered Lewis the No. 1 spot on Billboard's top country albums chart, while his first single, "Country Boy," was certified gold and received ACM and CMT Music Awards nominations.
Asked what those nominations mean to him, Lewis slyly grins and replies, "That maybe, just maybe, I've got a chance."
It's a pretty good chance.
"Country Boy" included guest appearances from George Jones and Charlie Daniels -- two country endorsements not to be taken lightly.
And now Lewis is back with brand new music, releasing his first full country album, The Road, on Tuesday (Nov. 13) on Blaster Records through Warner Music Nashville.
After co-producing Town Line with James Stroud, Lewis again teamed up with the Nashville producer on The Road. Stroud has previously worked with the likes of Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and Willie Nelson, to name a few.
Lewis quickly knew he, too, wanted to work with the Nashville legend.
"In the beginning, when I decided I wanted to do a country record, we kind of compiled a list of producers to talk to, and James was the first and last producer I talked to," he explains. "As soon as I talked to him, I didn't even bother calling anybody else. And obviously, it was meant to be because we work very well together."
In support of The Road, Lewis has kicked off a solo acoustic tour which includes dates through March 2013.
The album features 10 new songs, including the track, "Granddaddy's Gun," which holds the distinction of being the first song Lewis has ever recorded that he didn't actually write. Written by Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Bobby Pinson, Lewis says he recorded it because "I could relate to every single word of the song."
Lewis' honesty in his music is quite obvious. However, he admits he doesn't always know how songs will turn out when he sits down to write.
"I don't ever know until it starts coming out," he says. "Writing songs are like car crashes."
His latest single, "Forever," is a prime example of his ability to capture his emotions as he sings about life on the road, away from those he loves most.
The music video for the track premiered during CMT's Big New Music Weekend, and Lewis says it "basically just really accentuates the song. It's pretty true to the lyrical content of the song -- just helps paint the picture of the loneliness and doubt that can set in when you're out on the road for as long of periods of time as I am."
Other standout tracks on The Road include his poignant "Lessons Learned" about taking time to appreciate life's simple pleasures, along with "Endless Summer" as he sheds his tough persona and listeners get a glimpse at Lewis, the father.
During a previous interview with CMT.com, Lewis said his childhood had a country music soundtrack to it. When asked if he hopes to pass that same upbringing on to his three young daughters, the singer-songwriter admits, "I think I kind of already have."
He further explains, "My daughters will sing along to every word of Jamey Johnson's 'The Dollar' and any song off the record. They sing them all, along with Miranda Lambert. They love the Pistol Annies and Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band. It's just kind of cool that they've graduated from teeny bopper stuff to some real music."
His patriotism is put on display with the hard-hitting "Red, White & Blue," but Lewis does more than just talk the talk as he opens up about performing during USO tours.
"It means everything to me," he reveals. "I feel like our military is unappreciated by most. And the saying that keeps coming into my head is 'freedom isn't free.' None of the entitlements that people in this country think that they're entitled to is free. Somebody's paying for it. I know soldiers deserve to feel appreciated for the sacrifices and commitment that they've made to this country. It's the least I could do."