Set for release on April 12, State I’m In has music powerhouse Aaron Lewis speaking his truth in songs such as “God and Guns,” “Love Me” and “It Keeps on Workin.’" But it’s a song in which the late Keith Whitley speaks his own truth that Lewis can’t seem to get out of his head.

“It was pretty cool that (Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan’s son) Jesse (Keith Whitley) wanted to hear what I could do with that song,” Lewis tells Taste of Country regarding the Keith Whitley-penned song “Burnt the Sawmill Down.”

The song came to him through an unusual set of circumstances.

“There existed a cassette tape where he was singing those words, but nothing ever came of it," Lewis recalls.

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That is, until it was handed over to Lewis.

“As the story goes, Keith was in his hotel room when he taped this song, and let's just say that the overindulgences had already taken place,” says Lewis about Whitley, who died in 1989 at age 33 after years of battling alcoholism. “It was just so pure. I mean, the 12-string guitar he was playing was completely out of tune, but there was something there. We took what he had represented. It was a pretty amazing experience. The whole thing was pretty amazing.”

The song is one that Lewis is looking forward for his fans to hear come album release day.

“Album release day is always an interesting time for me,” Lewis says with a chuckle. “I try not to look at the numbers and things like that. I just try to stay focused on my normal schedule. It’s basically a non-event for me.”

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