Traditional radio stations were once the heart of country music, but now, as I’ve written before, you’re likely to hear tunes that come off as pop more than country.
Critics abound, and one of the most vocal inside the music business is Aaron Lewis.
Lewis earned his stripes playing a different kind of music, alternative rock, with the band Staind. Leaving that genre for country led some of his previous fans to criticize him on social media because he wasn’t born in the South, the region many associate with country music.
In response, Lewis composed ‘Northern Redneck’. The song focuses on the rural lifestyle, a culture not confined to the South. The lyrics expand his declaration, “I’m a redneck north of the Mason-Dixon.” Square toed boots, trucks, and hunting are motifs in the lyrics.
Lewis is in the middle of a wide-ranging tour after the late 2016 release of his album Sinner.
Like others unwilling to yield to permit corporate culture to shape his art, Lewis releases on his own label.
On his Facebook (public) page, Lewis let it be known how he feels about the content radio stations are broadcasting today:
“Share if you miss real country music on the radio.”
That’s why I wrote this column. I always end up putting in CDs when we travel although I miss the radio sometimes.
Lewis’ tour covers cities across the US, including an August 18 performance in Nashville at the legendary Ryman Auditorium.
Social media posts indicate many of the performances he’s scheduled for are sold out.
The website Country Rebel reacted to Lewis’ ‘Northern Redneck’ song:
“It seems to be the common belief among most people that you can only find rednecks in the Southern U.S. But anyone who lives up North knows that’s not true at all.
Rednecks and country folks can be found anywhere, from New York state to Oregon. It’s not the state that defines how “country” you are, but the way that you were raised and the way you live your life.”
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 16, 2017)
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