After announcing his forthcoming departure from the rowdy extravagances of Boston rock & roll to the fiddles and banjos of ‘Music City’, Tennessee late last year, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has finally debuted his debut solo single. Swapping the seminal sound of one of the best-selling rock & roll bands in history for the anticipated trucks, accents and cowboy boots of Nashville was a move that had fans waiting in trepidation for the effort’s outcome. However, with Love Is Your Name dude not only looks like a country star, but sounds like a pretty convincing one too.
Love Is Your Name takes full advantage of Tyler’s iconic, raw vocals, stripped away from the bombast backup we’ve become accustomed to accompanying that distinctive growl. Written by Eric Paslay and Lindsey Lee, the track features a characteristic country line-up, starring lap steel, acoustic guitar, and a dancing fiddle that barrels forward in that sweeping way country ballads do. Simple but soaring vocal harmonies guide the hook to new heights. The generic opening line of the song (“Send your kisses my way / Bring your sweet heart to me / I’ve been waiting for so long) steers the fairly mundane lyrical content of the rest of the track: broad, romantic sentiments that, while not particularly poignant, are straightforward and somewhat prosaically sincere.
While his country form most likely won’t have the impact on American contemporary music that Aerosmith did, Love Is Your Name is a pleasant surprise, whose reception will hopefully give Tyler the confidence to more boldly navigate the unknowns of this new genre. Already residing in Nashville since the New Year, Tyler’s on-going collaborations with some of Nashville’s finest musicians and songwriters could bring something new and exciting to his debut country album.