Frontman Aaron Lewis of alt-metal group Staind played his solo country music show at the Louisville Palace with Alex Williams and Travis Marvin.

Armed with only a Cheshire Cat grin and an acoustic guitar, Aaron Lewis took to the Louisville Palace stage with the Johnny Cash classic, “Cut You Down,” washing over the audience.

As a mammoth American flag unfurled, the Staind frontman began his time on the lighted stage by asking those in attendance to remove their hats and to join him in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, something Lewis traditionally asks of his audience serving to create an almost instant bond with those in attendance.

The patriotic theme flowed into the first song, “Country Boy,” accompanied by an impromptu chant of “U-S-A” that echoed throughout the halls of the venue.

Lewis followed the initial jingoistic portion of his performance by launching into the title track from his most recent solo endeavor, 2016’s Sinner, followed by two of the record’s more superlative tracks in “Northern Redneck” and “Mama.”

For those of you unaware, Lewis started dipping his musical toes into the country music scene back in 2010 with the release of his EP Town Line, which was followed by his first full-length country LP, The Road, in 2012.

The debate over the quality of Lewis’ country endeavors has been the subject of cogitation across the world of music critics. Some have lauded Lewis’ turn as a country crooner, such as Daryl Addison of Great American Country, who said about The Road, “Aaron’s created a work that honors country music tradition while injecting his own soul and experience.”

Others critics have expressed quite a divergent opinion, including Stephen Thomas Erlwine from AllMusic, who criticized The Road stating, “‘Lewis’ music doesn’t have much color. It’s by-the-numbers red state country, hitting all of its marks and making no lasting impression.”

That’s par for the course for Lewis, though, whether he’s playing rock clubs with Staind or standing in puddles of beer inside of Southern honky-tonks, the man simply seems to be a lighting rod regarding both opinion and debate within the music industry.

Lewis’s fan base, however, seems entirely undeterred by either praise or critique, as it’s more than commonplace for just about every one of his performances to be sold out.

The majority of the night’s performance continued to be dominated by Nashville inspired tracks off both The Road and Sinner. Lewis only strayed from his country-oriented tunes to offer up the audience a dynamic cover of the Foo Fighters “Everlong,” complete with some impressive slide guitar work, and a few beyond well received Staind songs including, “It’s Been a While” and set closer “Outside.”

Judging by the amount of buzz and positive chatter tied to the transcendent performance they had just witnessed by Lewis, the vast majority of the crowd seemed to walk away from the Louisville Palace with not only a tremendous swell of American Pride but smiles on their faces as wide as the one Lewis’ displayed throughout the course of the entire performance.

Kansas City-based singer Travis Marvin opened up the evening’s musical festivities with an abbreviated but well-received set of country music that featured tracks off his most recent EP, 2016’s Simple.

The main support for the night featured an eclectic set by Nashville-based musician Alex Williams, who clearly draws influence from old school country music legends such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard.

Williams won the crowd over with some of his original music as well as a few well-placed covers that included a unique take on the Five Man Electrical Band track, “Signs” and an irradiant rendition of Nelson’s, “Whiskey River.”

Aaron Lewis
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Alex Williams
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The Louisville Palace
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Event Date: 16-Feb-2017