Everyone has his or her own way of listening to and discovering music. Some just seem to always be up on the latest trends, others are stuck in another musical era, others turn the other cheek at anything that was made before 2010. I, like a lot of people, largely shared my parents’ taste in music and as a result I had big gaps along the way where I was almost completely oblivious to some artists. Thus, I’ve had to catch up and most of the music I discover has been around for a little while. For example, I recently went on a huge Eminem kick. I had heard the classics like “Till I Collapse,” which was played as a warm-up song for virtually every middle school boys basketball game I participated in between 2006 and 2009, but I hadn’t really listened to Eminem.
One of my recent kicks this past fall was Aerosmith. After a break from it and after hearing an old Howard Stern interview with the band’s lead singer Steven Tyler, I, on a whim, dipped my toe into Tyler’s 2016 solo country album, “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere.” In his first solo album, which is available on Spotify and Apple Music, Tyler nails it.
A one-word description of the album would be “raw.” Tyler’s voice is not perfect but it’s made for country and it’s made for the types of songs that Tyler sings on the album, which feels outlaw-ish at times. It’s full of heart and soul and it doesn’t at all feel manufactured. It would be easy to discount a glamorous rock star trying to sing genuine country, but Tyler pulls it off and then some.
The heart of the album is really songs 11 through 14. Song 11, “Red, White, and You,” which is more of a mainstream country song than a dive bar, soulful type jam but it’s catchy while not breaking from the character of the album.
“What Am I Doin’ Right” seems to flip country stereotypes a bit, as Tyler sings about wanting to know what he’s doing right to to make his female love interest happy. It’s usually country men asking what they’re doing wrong but Tyler flips it in a clever way and a way that will have you letting loose and testing your own vocals.
“Janie’s Got a Gun,” the second to last song on the album, is the most outlaw song on the album as Tyler lets loose and allows his gravelly voice to take over. The song starts off underwhelming but builds into a tune that transports you to early 20th century South Dakota.
This genre certainly isn’t for everyone but if you’re someone who likes Chris Stapleton-style blues/country/soul type music, you’re going to want to hop in the car on a nice day and throw it back a couple of years to “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere.”