FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Nashville-based country artist Aaron Lewis brought smiles to hundreds of Soldiers’ and Families’ faces with a free concert hosted Jan. 26 at the newly refurbished Warrior Zone.
The singer spent the day connecting with Soldiers on a tour of the installation before the performance, which doubled as a release show for his latest album “Frayed at Both Ends.”
“I want to give back,” Lewis said. “To make sure that the people I interact with while I’m somewhere like this for the day realize how much I appreciate and don’t take for granted everything they stand for and what they are willing to fight for if the time comes. I’m not in the military. I didn’t choose that route at the time, so this is a way that I can give some of my time for them.”
Colonel Andrew Q. Jordan, Fort Campbell garrison commander, said having support from artists like Lewis helps boost morale as Soldiers prepare for the future fight.
“We are within an hour of major-league talent in Nashville and some great Americans who support what you do,” Jordan said to attendees before the show. “They appreciate what you do and what your Families do. They just want to give back, and we are seeking every opportunity to bring them here.”
Soldiers and Families were happy to engage with Lewis in turn, whether they became fans through his work with chart-topping rock band Staind or his solo releases as a country artist.
“I’m from New England and Aaron Lewis is from Massachusetts, so I’ve been listening to his music for a long time,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Love, a Soldier from 1st Brigade Combat Team currently working with U.S. Army Cadet Command through the Green to Gold Active-Duty Option program. “I listened to Staind a lot in the 2000s, and when he made the switch to country music, I’m a backwoods country boy so it was perfect.”
Army spouse Courtney Fuller said she and her husband are long-time fans of Lewis’s music and appreciated his outreach to the Fort Campbell community.
“I actually saw it on Facebook and told my husband about it,” Fuller said. “I think it’s wonderful. It’s something different for people to do on post, and it’s nice to know celebrities care about the military.”
Lewis also met with Gold Star and Surviving Family members during his tour of the installation.
“I was humbled by their presence and in awe of their Families’ sacrifices,” Lewis said.
Lewis has a long history of performing at military bases, including Navy Support Facility, Diego Garcia; Fort Riley, Kansas; Yokoto Air Base, Japan; Navy Base Yokosuka, Japan; Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan; Fort Hood, Texas; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
Lewis said he was particularly impressed with the Soldiers at Fort Campbell after seeing their equipment and capabilities firsthand, adding he appreciated the opportunity to spend the day on the installation.
“It’s always amazing to be able to do this,” he said. “This is one of the cooler things that I get to do with my time ... it was [a way] to come here and do something awesome for the Soldiers and their Families, because there are a lot of good people on this base.”