February 27, 2022 Aaron Lewis – Frayed at Both Ends (Album Review)
Internationally known as the leading voice and lyricist of Alternative Metal’s Staind, Aaron Lewis has proven for over a decade that he no one trick pony. Releasing his debut solo EP Town Line back in 2011, at the time, Lewis surprised many with a shift into Country Rock. Singing with a heavy accent about a simply life, and of course, struggles, Lewis’ Country arrangements were calm, down to earth, but most of all, came from the heart. Now three studio albums into the Country genre, Lewis returns in 2022 with his fourth full-length, Frayed at Both Ends.
A follow up to 2019’s State I’m In, Frayed at Both Ends was released on January 28th via Big Machine and offers up 13 new songs. So what do you get? Well, if you are a fan of Lewis’ Country side, very honest, soulful tracks that do not mince words. This approach may not turn on more mainstream Country fans, but if you are willing to get down and dirty with lyrics that do not try and cross genres, Frayed at Both Ends, as well as Lewis’ prior solo releases, are for you.
It all begins with “Again,” a smooth sounding cut that carefully sets the stage for you to dive deep into what is troubling this thoughtful songwriter. This continues with “Goodbye Town and “Everybody Talks to God,” before Lewis goes for the gut on “Am I The Only One;” a song where Lewis does not hide his feelings about current news and the politics of today. A very patriotic tune, that has a beginning that is reminiscent of Staind’s “It’s Been Awhile,” Lewis shows he is not afraid to fight for what he thinks is right.
Moving forward Lewis offers more sincerity on the broken-hearted love song “Kill Me Like You Love Me.” Then there is the even more melancholic and somber “Pull Me Under,” “Life Behind Bars” and “Waiting There For Me.” However, the deeply emotional “They Call Me Doc,” featuring Creativets, Vince Gill, and Dan Tyminski, should not be overlooked. This put together with the authentic Country twang of “Get What You Get,” “Sticks And Stones” and “One In The Same,” brings together a very solid record.
Overall, Frayed At Both Ends is a very mellow album mainly about heartbreak and tough times. The music is soft and gentle, but there are no songs that you will feel compelled to skip, and that is a good thing. Simple put, Aaron Lewis has proven he belongs within the Country music world and his approach is refreshing to say the least. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Frayed At Both Ends 3.5 out of 5 stars.