July 20

Jason Aldean Speaks Out On “Try That In A Small Town” Music Video Controversy

Country star Jason Aldean has come under massive criticism recently for his new single “Try That in a Small Town.” Some have perceived it as a song that promotes violence, while others even described it as a “modern lynching song.”

In a lengthy statement posted on his Twitter last Tuesday (July 18), Aldean rejected the criticism, saying the references people have made are “meritless” and “dangerous.” The Georgia native clarified that the song, as well as its music video, has nothing to do with race but is rather a celebration of small-town values.

For Aldean, “Try That In A Small Town” refers to “the feeling of a community” he grew up in – where neighbors cared for each other, no matter the differences in their background or belief.

Aldean also used his statement to jog people’s memory of the mass shooting he survived. In 2017, the country singer played onstage at the Route 91 Harvest Festival nearby Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, where a gunman fired on concertgoers, killing 60 and wounding 800 all through an eleven-minute hail of bullets. 

Aldean said that no one, including him, “wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”

Meanwhile, Aldean’s wife, Brittany, rallied behind him. She turned to Instagram to support her other half, posting a photo of herself with the singer sitting together on a beach. 

“Never apologize for speaking the truth,” she wrote in the caption, along with an American flag emoji.

Fellow country star Travis Tritt also stepped up to defend Aldean. Tritt took to social media to publicly support the singer, saying he firmly stands by the song. He thinks “Try That in a Small Town” doesn’t endorse violence but rather represents the viewpoint of most Americans opposing the increasing violence witnessed by certain activist groups.

What You Should Know About The Controversy Surrounding “Try That In A Small Town” 

“Try That in a Small Town” – which compares city life to country life – was written by Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Neil Thrasher, and Kelley Lovelace. It was released to country radio in May 2023 as the lead single off Jason Aldean‘s forthcoming eleventh studio album. However, its lyrics swiftly came under fire.

Many find the lyrics promoting gun violence and glorifying violent behavior, especially when the country icon croons about a gun he received from his grandfather and belts out aggressive lyrics such as “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store.”

The song came under renewed scrutiny when the music video to accompany it debuted on July 14 on CMT and was put into the channel’s rotation. 

Several viewers pointed out the scenes in the video that were shot at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee. It was where a white lynch mob strung African-American Henry Choate after dragging his body through the streets with a car in 1927. The place is also where the infamous Columbia Race Riot happened in 1946.

The production company for Aldean’s video, TackleBox, came into defense – citing that the location has been a sought-after filming site outside of Nashville. They even mentioned several music videos and films filmed there – such as Tanya Tucker’s country movie, A Nashville Country Christmas. The company also clarified that Aldean was not part of the location’s selection process.

The country-music cable network has since pulled the music video from its rotation.

In addition to outraged social media users, several prominent figures also stood up against the song. That includes fellow country star Sheryl Crow, who said promoting violence is far from being American. Crow has been a vocal advocate for firmer gun control measures. 

Country singer-songwriter Margo Price also called the country singer “a clown” and re-circulating a photo of Aldean in blackface during a Halloween party in 2015. 

Anti-gun violence activist Shannon Watts also slammed Aldean. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s Rep. Justin Jones described the song and music video as a “shameful vision of gun extremism and vigilantism.”

Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” has definitely been caught in a web of controversy. You can check out the music video below and see it for yourself.


Jason Aldean

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