The singer has worked on seven studio albums with Staind over the last 17 years, but he is embarking on a new path by releasing his first full-length country offering, The Road, this week (begs19Nov12).
Lewis' venture has been met with some resistance from rock devotees, but he admits writing laid-back country tracks has been creatively fulfilling.
He tells Reuters, "It's been quite the pleasant eclectic mix of tattoos and black eyeliner, and Stetsons (hats), cowboy boots and big shiny buckles. A few fans are really having a hard time with it. I can't make everyone happy. Music is about making me happy first. For those who wish I would stick with Staind, they'll get what they want, too.
"(It's) a refreshing and a nice change... I need to switch it up a little bit. It's kind of nice to write a song about taking my daughters to the beach instead (of) about something that's tearing me apart from the inside."
Lewis' first foray into the genre, his 2011 EP Town Line, was a collaboration with country icons George Jones and Charlie Daniels.