Aaron Lewis is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the post-grunge group Staind. This is the first single from his debut solo album, which he describes as being somewhere between James Taylor and his Staind hit "It's Been Awhile
." When we spoke with Lewis in 2011, he told us: "I'm pretty damn proud of 'Country Boy.' Just because it's my story. And no matter how many of those things that are in there are cliché country things, they're true. And that's the difference. I love that damn song. I didn't go to Nashville and pick out from a catalogue of songs, songs that I felt fit the image that I was trying to portray. I wrote that song. I wrote all those songs. I mean, it is so old-school country, it's awesome. And then there's other flavors of it, too - there's still flavors there that are teeter-tottering. I haven't just completely lost myself in the country thing, if that makes any sense."
This song features guest spots by Chris Young, George Jones and Charlie Daniels. "I've got to say that 'Country Boy' is definitely in the stylings of 'Country Boy Can Survive' (by Hank Williams jr.)," he told Billboard Magazine. "I'm not going to try and deny that correlation."
Growing up in rural Vermont, Lewis spent summers with his World War II veteran grandfather hunting and fishing. "Country was the background music to my childhood," said the singer. "My grandfather listened to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr. and all of the greats. When Staind did our first tour with Kid Rock in 1999, I rode the bus with him on a couple occasions, and we bonded over this music. I haven't been able to let go of it since then.
George Jones and Charlie Daniels are two of the genre's legends, and Chris Young represents the new regime," he added regarding this song. "It's definitely a personal, autobiographical song, and I'm very thankful that they all participated."
The video features Jones, Daniels and Young in the studio and draws from Lewis' family archives. "The video really is me. This is probably the most I've ever participated in any video that I've been involved with. I added a lot to the mix to tell the story."
When this debuted at #59 on the Country chart dated February 5, 2011, George Jones became the first artist to appear on the list in each of the last seven decades. He first appeared on the chart with "Why Baby Why," which peaked at #4 the week of Oct. 29, 1955.
The song debuted at #100 on the Hot 100 dated March 12, 2011. It marked Charlie Daniels' first entry on the chart, since "Still In Saigon
" peaked at #22 in 1982.
Though Charlie Daniels and Chris Young were in the studio the same time as Lewis, George Jones wasn't well at the time and had to record his vocals on his own later.
This is the signature walkout song for Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Chad Mendes. At UFC 189, held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 11, 2015, Lewis performed the song live for Mendes' entrance to his interim title fight with Conor McGregor. News had been building for some time that Mendes' opponent was bringing in Sinéad O'Connor to perform "Foggy Dew" for his own entrance, and Mendes wanted to respond. The two opponents carried a lot of animosity into the bout. Mendes lost the fight by technical knockout in the second round, but won the first round pretty soundly and made a good fight of it to the end.