For Digital First Media
CLEARWATER, FLA. — Steven Tyler will tell anyone within shouting distance that he has become a country boy now that he’s a senior citizen.
There is truth to his claim. Tyler’s solo debut, “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere” is a country album. It’s a change of pace and it works. However, Tyler’s well-paced concert, which is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 7 at the Tower Theater, is primarily filled with rockers. 8 of the 19 songs are Aerosmith songs. More than half are familiar pop-rock tunes, which he rendered at Ruth Eckerd Hall. But it works since there is balance with the show and with “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere.”
“It’s exciting doing something new,” Tyler said, speaking from Nashville. “I love what I have done and what I do with Aerosmith and I love stepping out solo. But solo doesn’t cover it. This album was a we kind of thing.”
T Bone Burnett, who produced “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere,” is one of the most in demand producers, who has been behind the board working with such icons as Elton John, Elvis Costello and Tony Bennett. “I can’t say enough about T Bone,” Bennett said. “He makes a difference.”
Burnett helped put his mark on Tyler’s project. “What T Bone does is amazing,” Tyler said. “He helped put everything together.”
Tyler, 68, has a way with country. The diminutive legend spent much of his youth in New Hampshire in the great outdoors listening to country icons. “This music speaks to me because I was countryfied,” Tyler said. “I used to trap. We had 300 acres. It was big.”
Everything about Aerosmith has been big. That goes for the hits, the comebacks and the halls. However, Tyler, who will perform Wednesday at the Tower Theater, has scaled it down for a theater tour, which he is enjoying since it makes for intimate shows for his “Out on a Limb” jaunt.
“The last time we did small venues was at the end of that first run of Aerosmith, about ‘81, ‘82, ‘83,” Tyler said. “I always loved (smaller venues). I prefer them. I like to look out and everybody’s close, as opposed to 20,000 (people) when there’s the barricade and they keep everybody back, going, ‘we need a fire lane!’ I’m going, ‘what the bleep? I can’t see or feel the people.”
Tyler engaged the audience in Clearwater during a recent concert. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is one of the best at connecting with a crowd. He takes it to another level in smaller venues since there’s little distance between him and the first row. Tyler can see fan’s expressions.
“I love that,” Tyler said. “It’s fun to be able to see everything and just go back and forth with a crowd. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced that.”
The benefit of playing a smaller venues, is that many of the halls are acoustically sound and it allows Tyler and his backing unit, the Nashville-based Loving Mary Band, to dial it down a bit.
“We play a little quieter onstage,” Tyler said. “You can hear the banjo and slide guitar and you can hear the mandolin and it’s just beautiful the way it pokes out.”
After Tyler’s tour ends in mid-September it’s back to Aerosmith. Tyler told Howard Stern earlier this year that Aerosmith will embark on its final tour in 2017. Tyler looks back fondly on his iconic band.
“They’re still playing the songs on the radio today,” Tyler said. “I turn the radio on in the car and I hear “Sweet Emotion” and “Dream On” and it’s just crazy. But I love that. I love Aerosmith. I can’t say enough about the Aerosmith experience.”
Steven Tyler appears Wednesday, Sept. 7 at the Tower Theater, 69th and Ludlow streets, Upper Darby. Tickets are $39.50 and $149.95. Show time is 8 p.m. For more information, 610-352-2887,ticketmaster.com