BREAKING: Jason Aldean Breaks Silence On Controversial ‘Try That In A Small Town’ Song And Music Video
Aldean is responding to critics who accused him of being pro-gun and racist.
Jason Aldean; Photo by Josh Brasted, CMA 1
Jason Aldean has been under fire since the release of his politically-charged “Try That In A Small Town” music video after people began to make several accusations about the Georgia native and his music. Now, the country singer is addressing the situation and the backlash.
After the clip made its debut on July 14, outraged social media users began to dissect the song’s lyrics and the visuals that appear within the “Try That In A Small Town” music video. Listeners and critics accused the singer of being pro-gun and racist.
Outrage Over Music Video
Many users pointed out that the music video featured a performance recorded in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee. This is the site of the 1927 lynching of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old African American man that was accused of attacking a white woman.
Others were outraged by the news clips in the music video, which included visuals of police brutality and unrest during the height of the pandemic in 2020 as well as scenes of riots and looting that destroyed American cities.
“I just watched/heard about 45 seconds of the new Jason Aldean video/song and it is absolute right wing propaganda. ‘try that in a small town, we take care of our own’ ok well the small town my wife grew up in knew of abuse and no one did anything,” one Twitter user said.
Another user said the music video “rips into the left-wing riots, soft on crime governance in cities, gun control, and other leftist degradation.” Someone else believes the song is an “ode to a sundown town, suggesting people be beaten or shot for expressing free speech.”
The singer was also criticized for releasing a song with a pro-gun message as he was on stage at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas in 2017 when a gunman shot and killed more than 60 people. To date, this remains the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck / Try that in a small town,” Aldean sings.
See His Statement
On Tuesday (July 18), the country superstar broke his silence to address the situation.
“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests,” Aldean explained. “These references are not only meritless, but dangerous.”
He went on to detail what the song means from his perspective.
“There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.”
Jason Aldean continued, “‘Try That In A Small Town,’ for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences. My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from, and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to- that’s what this song is about.”
He then spoke out on the comments users made about him being the subject of one of the world’s deadliest mass shootings.
“As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives- and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
At the time of the music video’s release, Jason Aldean shared the following message with fans: “When you grow up in a small town, it’s that unspoken rule of ‘we all have each other’s backs and we look out for each other,’” he wrote on social media. “It feels like somewhere along the way, that sense of community and respect has gotten lost. Deep down we are all ready to get back to that. I hope my new music video helps y’all know that you are not alone in feeling that way.”
Produced by Michael Knox and written by Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Kelley Lovelace, and Neil Thrasher, “Try That In A Small Town” impacted Country Radio on May 22.
“It Resonated With Me”
Aldean previously opened up about making the decision to record the song during a recent interview on The Bobby Bones Show.
“For me, I heard the song and it just kind of explained to me what’s going on in the world. It resonated with me, I guess is a better word because of what’s going on in the world.”
He continued, “It’s like everyday you turn on the news and see something crazy happened or some heartbreaking story. This is just a song that talks about like you wouldn’t get away with that stuff in a small town. It’s just a different mindset and different kind of values in small town America that I wish everybody else would kind of adopt. It’d probably help some of things that are going on in the world.”
“Try That In A Small Town” is expected to appear on Aldean’s forthcoming 11th studio album, which has yet-to-be announced.
He is slated to perform the song on the three-hour CMA Fest special, airing on ABC on Wednesday, July 19.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.