Jason Aldean responds to controversy over “Try That in a Small Town”


Country star Jason Aldean has come under immense criticism in recent days for a new song one critic says is an anthem “about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns,” while others describe it as “the song of the century.” Now, Aldean is speaking out about the song, called “Try That in a Small Town.” 

The song was released in mid-May, with Aldean saying at the time that it “summarizes the way a lot people feel about the world right now.” 

“It seems like there are bad things happening on a daily basis, and that feels unfamiliar to a lot of us,” he tweeted. “This song sheds some light on that.”

In the song’s second verse, Aldean seemingly criticizes protesters, saying, “Cuss out a cop, spit in his face, stomp on the flag and light it up, 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.” 

He goes on to sing about the “gun that my granddad gave me” and alluding to gun control measures, saying “that sh-t might fly in the city, good luck.” 

The song came under renewed scrutiny after a music video started to make its rounds on CMT over the weekend. The video was released on CMT on Friday and put into the channel’s rotation through Sunday before CMT reportedly pulled it off the air on Monday, Billboard said. CMT is owned and operated by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of CBS News’ parent company Paramount. CBS News has reached out to CMT for comment. 

“Jason Aldean – who was on-stage during the mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert in 2017 that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more – has recorded a song called ‘Try That In A Small Town’ about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns,” Shannon Watts, the founder of activist group Moms Demand Action, said. 

 Another person described the song as a “modern lynching song.” 

Even fellow country music star Sheryl Crow spoke out, saying “I’m from a small town.” 

“Even people in small towns are sick of violence. There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence,” she said. “You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting. This is not American or small town-like. It’s just lame.” 

Many fans, however, have applauded the song, saying the music video “calls out left-wing violence, specifically violence against law enforcement.” The music video puts a strong emphasis on the protests against police brutality that have rocked the nation for several years now, showing footage of protestors confronting cops. That was mixed with footage of more violent demonstrations, as well as security footage of seemingly random robberies. 

Those scenes are set against traditional patriotic Americana scenes – soldiers in war, people hunting, a family on a farm, kids playing hopscotch, and a farmer saying in his community, “somebody needs some help, you’ll get it.” 

“Apparently this is ‘controversial’ and hateful according to the left,” Collin Rugg, the co-owner of Trending Politics said. 

Greg Price, communications director for the conservative State Freedom Caucus Network, described the music video as “absolutely epic,” saying it “rips into the left-wing riots, soft on crime governance in cities, gun control, and other leftist degradation.” 

Now, Aldean is speaking out about the song and video. 

“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,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. 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 used his statement to remind people of the mass shooting he was present at, the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. He said that nobody, including him, “wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.” 

He said that the song is about “the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.” 

“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,” he said. “But the desire for it to- that’s what this song is about.”





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