The feel of this solo release by the lead singer of STAIND, Aaron Lewis, is something that has been swirling internally and needed an avenue for escape. The lyrics are personal and intrusive of his life at home and on the road. The place he lives and the places he needs to go support where he needs to be. It is the circle of life for musicians who need to spread the word of latest releases and the bug that once on the road takes hold pushing them from town to town.
The line "If I Could Paint a Picture" found within track 2 is exactly what Lewis does through this release. "Vicious Circles" holds the line but the picture is drawn on each track giving the release its foundation. This allowed Lewis to bleed his personal thoughts onto paper while the pages became red the weight of having to leave his family for his love of performing fills the music.
"Country Boy" is Aaron's story of what happens to bands when they get to LA and find that the suits want to change what artists have built, starting with how you look and talk as well as your physicality. This track features GEORGE JONES, CHARLIE DANIELS and CHRIS YOUNG, where the first two have been around the block with the record companies for so many years and stayed true to who they are while Chris Young has been in the spotlight only 5 years which has been long enough to see what the spotlight can ask of an artist.
Alexa Carter brings hauntingly extraordinary vocals to the background of "Tangled Up in You", a song that is Lewis speaking directly to his wife. The beauty of the song is the simplicity of the music, allowing the lyrics to bring the message. LEON RUSSELL's syntax can be heard as each line begins and sometimes at the end. My only question is can this song also be the handcuffs the music has on drawing him from the love of his life and his children. He seems to be singing as much to his wife as to the music he writes and the road that draws him out to perform them.
"Massachusetts" is clearly the home he treasures where his family and friends greet him not as the famous artist but the guy they have known since his early years. The screaming fans have little place in his life here, the focus is his children as they grow and change during his leave on tour.
Lewis did what few artists in a band can do on a solo record. He stayed true to one sound, giving the recording a complete feel. Letting the lyrics come from a more personal place makes the listener wish he could have delivered more than the 5 tracks. It is clear after finishing the CD that he is the driver behind STAIND. This is in no way negating the band as a whole, just saying who puts the pedal to the metal.