Country star Jason Aldean defends ‘Try That in a Small Town’ music video after facing backlash
By Tracy Wright
Jason Aldean denies that his song, “Try That in a Small Town,” has racial undertones in the wake of online backlash after his music video was released last week.
Aldean, 46, rejected the notion that the tune, which hit airwaves in May and only recently received visuals, referenced “race or points to it.” In the music video, Aldean touts how small towns wouldn’t put up with the kind of riots and lawlessness many cities across the country faced during the summer of 2020.
“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 shared with his nearly 8 million fans across social media.
“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous.”
Brittany Aldean shared a selfie with her husband while on the beach and wrote, “Never apologize for speaking the truth.”
The second single from his as-yet untitled 11th studio album also faced criticism for its accompanying music video, which was filmed at a controversial location and featured footage from Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
“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,” he wrote in posts shared on Instagram and Twitter.
Some of the lyrics in the song included in his forthcoming album include, “Yeah, ya think you’re tough? Well, try that in a small town, see how far ya make it down the road. Around here, we take care of our own, you cross that line, it won’t take long for you to find out, I recommend you don’t.”
Aldean continued writing in his post, “And 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.”
The country singer was one of the headlining acts at the 2017 Las Vegas music festival where a mass shooting occurred; a gunman killed 60 people and wounded more than 400 attendees after firing more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition into the crowd from a 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay.
“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,” Aldean wrote. “Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”
He added, “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.”
The “Got What I Got” singer was also criticized for choosing to film the video at the Maury County Courthouse.
Mississippi Free Press news editor Ashton Pittman said the site of the video is where a “white lynch mob strung Henry Choate up at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., after dragging his body through the streets with a car in 1927. That’s where Aldean chose to sing about murdering people who don’t respect police.”
Three days after Aldean’s new video was released, CMT pulled the video from rotation.