Aaron Lewis ‘Sinner’ Shakes Things Up – CMM Review

There’s been a great deal of rumblings and dissecting of Aaron Lewis and his new record, “Sinner.” Most stemming from comments he made on stage a while ago, in which he essentially said that artists like Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, and others were “choking the life out of country music” (For the record, and this is solely my opinion, I agree!). Well, those remarks didn’t sit well with quite a few people and there was some controversy over it, though it clearly hasn’t hurt the artist any, considering that “Sinner” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers and journalists write off this record as just a ploy, as not genuine. I have to disagree. Aaron has always seemed to be brutally honest and up front. I believe the main reason most people have an issue with him is simply because here we have a former rocker putting out REAL country music, better music than those who have called the country genre home all along. He’s ruffling feathers with his bluntness and the fact that he’s a darn good country artist.

Most people didn’t expect him to be as good as he is in the genre. A lot of writers are saying that Aaron is just another part of the “music row machine”, a tool to manipulate and appease those who are calling for country to return to its roots. My opinion: I think they’re spending WAY too much time analyzing this and couldn’t really care less about the politics of the industry, if an artist puts out good music, that’s good enough for me.

Anyway, on to the record itself; “Sinner” is superb and definitely should be included on the end of the year Best of 2016 lists that will be popping up soon. It’s pretty much an updated version of traditional and outlaw country. Listening to this record, you’ll hear acoustic guitars and steel guitars a plentiful. I admit, I love me lots of steel guitar, and it tends to help win me over immediately. This album has that true blue country sound that a lot of us have been craving, coupled with great, original lyrics. In a sea of disappointing releases that are heavily influenced by Pop and R&B sounds, (ahem, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, etc) it is always refreshing when you come across an album that represents what true country sounds like. “Sinner” coupled with a few other recent releases, has given us traditionalists hope that maybe Country is starting to turn back to its roots again. Give this a listen folks, you won’t regret it!

Highlights: “Sinner” (Ft. Willie Nelson), “That Ain’t Country”, “Northern Redneck”, “Mama”, and “Travelin’ Soldier” (Ft. Lewis’ daughter Zoe).

(Written by Liz Austin/CMM Contributor)

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