Country superstar Jason Aldean has issued a lengthy statement defending his new single, “Try That in a Small Town,” as well as its music video.
Aldean’s new song “Try That In A Small Town” has been criticized as racist dog-whistling and a glorification of “sundown towns,” a term that refers to towns or neighborhoods that practice racial discrimination via discriminatory local laws or outright intimidation and violence.
“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 wrote via Twitter.
“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” he continued. “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.”
“Try That In A Small Town” was written by Kelly Lovelace, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy and Kurt Michael Allison. The song was released to country radio in May 2023 as the lead single to Aldean’s upcoming 11th studio album.
The song depicts the contrasts between rural and urban lifestyles. In the song, Aldean sings about examples of behavior such as flag burning and protests against police officers. The song takes the viewpoint that such actions will face stronger consequences in a rural setting than an urban one, as reflected by the lyric “try that in a small town, see how far ya make it down the road.”
CMT pulled the video from rotation after running it for three days, Billboard confirmed. In the video, Aldean is seen performing the song in front of a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where a white mob lynched a young black man in 1927.
“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,” Aldean added in his statement.
“‘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 concluded.
(Photo: Joseph Llanes)
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