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Back in May, Jason Aldean released his song “Try It in a Small Town,” a plodding warning of Don’t Tour Here—No—No More to anyone who chooses to “act a fool” in America’s famously small towns. Most stayed under the radar at the time, but last week entered the cultural discourse when Aldean and director Sean Silva dropped a video for the song featuring the country star performing in front of a courthouse — reportedly in the Columbia, Tennessee, site of a 1933 lynching — and interspersed with footage depicting the protests as violent and lawless.
Backlash against the video, the song, and Alden himself was swift, culminating with CMT, the country music cable network, pulling the music video from rotation. (A representative for CMT confirmed to Rolling Stone that the video is no longer airing.) Aldean responded to the criticism Tuesday with a lengthy comment on social media, dismissing the backlash outright.
In the last 24 hours I’ve been accused of putting out a pro-lynching song (a song that’s been out since May) and I’ve been subject to comparison that I (direct quote) wasn’t very pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only pointless, they’re dangerous. Not a single lyric in the song references or references race — not a single verse that isn’t real news footage — and while I can try and respect others for having their own interpretation of a song with the music — this song Go away,” Aldan wrote, referring to the 2017 Las Vegas festival mass shooting and, apparently, the Last Covenant school shooting in Nashville.
He continued, “As many have pointed out, I was located on Route 91 – where so many lost their lives – and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. No one, myself included, wants to continue to see foolish headlines or families torn apart.”
He went on to explain his interpretation of the song, which was written by Kelly Lovelace, Kurt Allison, Neil Thrasher and Tully Kennedy, and produced by longtime Aldean producer Michael Knox. “Try it in a small town, to me, refers to the sense of the community I grew up in, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences in background or beliefs. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences. My political views were never something I hid from, and I know a lot of us in this country don’t agree on how we can get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least one day without a headline keeping us up at night. But wanting it—that’s what this song is about.” “.
As he points out in his statement, Aldean hasn’t been shy about his pro-Trump policies. He and his wife, influencer Brittany Aldean, promoted anti-Biden (and anti-vaccine) clothing in 2021. Last year, the couple became embroiled in controversy over a transphobic post made by Brittany Aldean.
Aldean is currently on the road with his Highway Desperado Tour. This past weekend, he had to cut short a show in Connecticut after being overpowered by the heat.