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Aaron Lewis to perform Concert in the Park

  • Courtesy of Eat Sleep Play Beaufort/Loudwire.com Aaron Lewis performs in 2016.

The 62nd annual Beaufort Water Festival’s first weekend includes a Concert in the Park performance by Aaron Lewis.

Lewis, the lead singer for the rock band Staind who is now enjoying a successful country music career, will perform Saturday night at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. and the gates open at 7. The opening acts are Beaufort’s own Steel Rail Express followed by country singer and YouTube sensation Jordan Rager. Tickets are on sale for $30 at bftwaterfestival.com.

Lewis has been performing solo acoustic shows since he was 17, so being on his own is nothing new. His album “Town Line” debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s country chart. Its first single, “Country Boy,” featured the late George Jones and Charlie Daniels.

Lewis released his first full solo album, “The Road,” in November 2012. His next album, “Sinner,” was released in 2016. Willie Nelson is featured on the title track.

Lewis recently took some time to chat on a day off from touring, sitting at a lake in Iowa, fishing rod in hand “and four bass sitting beside me,” he said. “It’s been a good morning.” He talked about his music, his career and Beaufort.

Your career has taken you all over the place. Have you ever visited the Beaufort area before?

“I have. It’s beautiful. I don’t remember exactly when I was there, but I remember the awesome sunset over Parris Island the most. I’ve literally been everywhere at least once.”

How do you compare your current solo country music career to your previous genre?

“Rock got me here. I absolutely loved it. But I’m getting older now and wanted something different and country allows me to do that. Country music is the soundtrack of my childhood.”

What can fans expect at your upcoming performance at the 62nd annual Beaufort Water Festival?

“You can expect a heavy country music concert, with plenty of little time warps that happen throughout the show. Yes, there will be plenty of Staind songs, too.”

We’ve seen video of you performing cover songs at your shows. What is your favorite song to cover?

“That just depends on my mood. I’ve covered a lot of great songs that I love, and I’ll play them when the mood strikes me. I don’t have a favorite. If I was to pick a favorite, then it would be a discredit to the others. They’re all special to me, and that’s why I play them.”

In the past, you’ve described your writing as “reality-based.” Is that still the case in your solo career or has performing country allowed you to open up more and be a bit looser?

“Oh, it definitely allows me to be much looser. I’ve spent my career being serious with every performance and every song, and country lets me be looser, but I still write with the same seriousness and feeling. That will never change.”

You’ve collaborated with Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Corey Taylor and Willie Nelson. Are there any more collaborations in the works?

“Funny you should ask that question. There’s an album coming out, I’d say within the next year, that I recorded a song with Johnny Cash. It’s a tribute album. Johnny’s son found a recorded book of poems and several artists were invited to record Johnny’s poems. I was lucky to be one of them. It’s really cool.”

Name one artist you would personally enjoy collaborating with.

(laughs) “Johnny Cash.”

When it comes to country music, who are your influences?

“I grew up on country music. My grandfather listened to it nonstop and it was literally shoved down my throat. I was force-fed Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Hank Jr. Those are definitely my influences. Like I said, country music was the soundtrack of my childhood.”

Can you give us a comparison or difference between the Nashville scene to the rock scene?

“The biggest difference is that Nashville artists tend to record songs written for them or choose songs written by other songwriters and rock artists always write their own songs. I’ve always written my own and will always do that.”

Let’s get local. Beaufort is made up of over 60 islands. If you were stranded on an island and could listen to only one artist or band, who would it be?

“Man, that’s a good one. If I could only listen to one artist or group it would have to be Pink Floyd. And if I could only have one album with me it would have to be ‘Dark Side of the Moon.’ It’s just the greatest album ever made. Lots of memories listening to it as well. So yeah, Pink Floyd for sure.”

The Beaufort area is known for a fresh local seafood with hard-working families helping to keep the fishing industry alive. What is your favorite seafood?

“All of it. There isn’t a single thing that comes out of the ocean that I would not eat. It’s just that good. I also love to hear that there are still commercial fishermen down there. I have a lot of respect for those hard-working folks.”

What are the first two things that come to mind when you think of South Carolina?

“Beaches and golf.”

Beaufort has a strong group of talented local musicians. What advice would you give them?

“I would tell them to keep going. Keep it up. Don’t ever get down and don’t ever let anyone sway you. I started playing bars when I was 17. I played all cover songs, as most bar bands do. I had this song that I would play in among the covers. Every time I played it, I would watch people get up and go get more beers, start talking to one another or even just leave. It got me down a bit. Funny thing… that song went on to be the No. 1 song on Billboard’s charts and spent 17 weeks there. It was also the most played song on the radio of the entire decade from 2000 through 2010.

“The song is named ‘It’s Been Awhile.’

“So, yeah, don’t give up. Ever. I’m proof of that and that is the advice I would give to the locals there in Beaufort.”

More Info

Breakout Box: 

BEAUFORT WATER FESTIVAL OPENING WEEKEND

FRIDAY

Arts & crafts market

Noon to 7 p.m., Promenade at Waterfront Park

Opening ceremony

Parris Island Marine Band, fireworks at dusk

Gates open at 6 p.m., ceremony begins at 7 p.m., Waterfront Park

SATURDAY

Raft race

8:30 a.m. to noon, Waterfront Park

Arts & crafts market

9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Promenade at Waterfront Park

Bocce tournament

9 a.m., Waterfront Park main field

Badminton tournament

9 a.m., Waterfront Park stage field

Children’s toad fishing tournament

10 a.m. to noon, Waterfront Park seawall

Ages 12 and under only; bring your own rod, reel and tackle; bait provided

Sponsor’s expo

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Waterfront Park Pavilion

Shrimp boat tours

Noon to 4 p.m., Waterfront Park seawall

Ski show

1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Waterfront Park

Concert in the Park

Aaron Lewis, Jordan Rager, Steel Rail Express

$30, gates open at 7 p.m., show at 7:15 p.m., Waterfront Park

SUNDAY

Arts & crafts market

9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Promenade at Waterfront Park

River rally

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., local waters

Children’s day

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Waterfront Park

Shrimp boat tours

Noon to 4 p.m., Waterfront Park seawall

Teen dance

DJ Donna

$10, 6-9 p.m., gates open 6-8 p.m., ages 13-17 only, Waterfront Park

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