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Stagecoach 2012: Aaron Lewis talks country makeover

April 30, 2012 |  5:00 am

Click here for more photos from Stagecoach
"Yes, it's like musical whiplash — that's a good term for it," Aaron Lewis said of his tuneful gearshift this weekend. On Saturday, he was fronting his long-running hard rock band Staind in Mesa, Ariz., and Sunday he was showing off his rootsy side at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, where Lewis performed material from his recent foray into country music, the 2011 EP "Town Line." 

Nevertheless, he said it wasn't a stretch to write and sing the songs for the EP — or another dozen or so he's written and recorded for his full-fledged country album coming this year.

"I spent a lot of time with my grandfather when I was a kid, and from the time he got up in the morning, the radio was on and I was hearing George Jones and Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings," Lewis said backstage shortly before his performance. "At 4 years old I'd stop anyone who'd listen and sing [Glen Campbell's] 'Rhinestone Cowboy.' Anyone in my family will back that up."

PHOTOS: The scene at Stagecoach 2012

For Sunday's appearance, Lewis complimented his own acoustic guitar with a Dobro player. It was also his first trip to the Empire Polo Club, the site that the prior two weekends housed the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, headlined by the likes of Radiohead, Dr. Dre and the Black Keys. 

In addition to his hit "Country Boy," Lewis included a stripped-down unplugged reading of Staind's "Outside," which drew an electric cheer from the crowd.

"I guess we're too heavy for Coachella," he said.


Stagecoach 2012: Backstage with Jason Aldean

The Mavericks come 'full circle' at Stagecoach festival

Stagecoach 2012: Some highlights -- Miranda Lambert, Dave Alvin

— Randy Lewis

Image: Aaron Lewis performs at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.