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Artists usually don’t criticize other artists in the country format, so a lot of heads turned when video surfaced this week showing Aaron Lewis speaking out against Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell and Sam Hunt.

In the clip, Aaron is introducing his new song, “That Ain’t Country,” when he names those artists, as well as Dan + Shay, as the artists who inspired the song by “just choking the life out of country music.”

RELATED: This music rebel is ready to fight for the sanctity of real country music

In a phone call on syndicated radio program “The Bobby Bones Show” on Sept. 15, Aaron clarified that rant saying, “I wasn’t trying to piss in anybody’s Corn Flakes. I was just trying to play to the crowd that I was playing in front of and make a statement. Maybe I didn’t need to pull anybody’s name into it, but I stand behind the statement that I made.”


Aaron goes on to say he was performing at a motorcycle rally in Colorado, so he was just trying to connect with the “black leather-clad wearing, older folks” in the crowd. Aaron adds that he doesn’t harbor any ill will toward the acts he name checked.

RELATED: Watch as a music rebel goes off on a slew of country music superstars

He says, “I’ve actually sat and gotten quite drunk with Dan + Shay. I don’t hate them at all. This was not an attack on their personal character in any way, shape or form.”

Ultimately, Aaron hopes his harsh words bring about some change to the country format.

Aaron explains, “What I’m calling out is the connection between the music that they’re choosing to put out and the music that defines the genre.”

If you like what you hear from Aaron, his new album, “Sinner,” is out Aug. 16 and features guest appearances from Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss.

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