For a number of rock and pop stars, including Aaron Lewis, crossing over to country isn't an easy code to crack. The STAIND frontman, who released his second full-length solo country album, "Sinner", in September, tells Forbes: "It's an uphill battle. I'm three country records into it without any touring from STAIND, three very traditionally based country records. And I'm still getting the whole, 'He's still testing. How do we know he's really loyal to the genre? He's a rock guy crossing over.' I'm still getting that five years into it with nothing but sold-out shows. It helps that I can go into any market and sell a couple of thousand hard tickets without any radio support whatsoever. You know that things are really bad in the genre when the average comment over the five years I've been doing this from program directors is, 'I love your record, [but] it's too country for me to play on the radio.' So when country radio is saying that music is too country for country radio to be playing, I'd say that's a problem."
Asked if he still would have gone into country had he known five years ago what he knows now, Lewis said: "It was still the only option I had that was still staying true to me. I grew up on country music. Every memory, good and bad, that I have from my childhood, has a country music soundtrack to it. So when the time to came do something different I really didn't want to do a solo record that stayed in the rock genre. I didn't want to do something that was gonna constantly get compared to STAIND lite."
Released on September 16 via Dot Records, "Sinner" was produced by country legend Buddy Cannon (George Strait, Merle Haggard, George Jones), and recorded over 16 intense hours at Nashville's Blackbird Studios.
STAIND has been mostly inactive since 2011 and Lewis said in a recent interview that the band is probably going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.
STAIND guitarist Mike Mushok is now playing in SAINT ASONIA with former THREE DAYS GRACE frontman Adam Gontier. The band's debut album was released in July 2015.