Let’s get a couple of things out of the way: yes, this is Steven “dude-looks-like-a-lady” Tyler; yes, the guy from Aerosmith; yes, this is a country-rock song. A very American country-rock song, and Tyler has assembled a very strong team of session musicians and song-writers to assist him transition to country music with his forthcoming solo debut.
After 2015’s Love Is Your Name, Red, White & You is our second look at Tyler as a country performer and, where the former was more of a twangy folk-country song, Tyler really leans into the rock aspects of Red, White & You, relying on slide guitar and banjo to anchor the song in country. Machismo and patriotism drip from the song – just in case you missed the reference to Old Glory in the song name – with lyrics like ‘bang, bang, baby/like the fourth of July’, and ‘you can kiss my ass/can’t help but say/it’s good to be born in the USA’. No doubt these sentiments, along with references to the ‘good old boys driving big machines’, will go down a treat in southern states like Texas, they will probably restrict the song’s appeal to the (lucrative) US country music market.
Red, White & You delivers the rock and swagger expected from a performer of Tyler’s pedigree, but one can’t help but wonder how the conservative country music scene will take to Tyler’s flamboyant image. Early indications are that they’ll take to it just fine, but we await the full album later in the year to see how successful Tyler is pursuing this new musical direction.