Country Music singer Jason Aldean’s new single skyrocketed to the iTunes top spot after Country Music Television (CMT) pulled the song’s music video this week in response to media outlets critical of the three-minute clip, describing it as having racist and pro-gun lyrics.
The “Try That In a Small Town” video that portrays leftist violence and lawlessness includes real-life scenes of rioters around the country wreaking havoc in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis in May of 2020. It incorporates scenes of protesters spitting at and attacking police officers and convenience stores being ransacked.
Written by Kelly Lovelace, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy, and Kurt Michael Allison, the tune is steadfast in its lyrics as it states those who “carjack an old lady at a red light” or “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store” or “cuss out a cop spit in his face” and “stomp on the flag and light it up” to “try that in a small town” and “see how far ya make it down the road/ ‘round here, we take care of our own.”
A later verse also addresses the right to bear arms with “Got a gun that my granddad gave me/ They say one day they’re gonna round up/ Well, that [expletive] might fly in the city/ Good luck.”
Ironically, Mr. Aldean was on stage when the worst mass shooting in U.S. history took place at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, which is something the pro-gun control K-12 Shooting Database pointed out in a tweet Monday.
“While many country artists are rallying to support the Nashville school shooting victims, there is a new song about shooting people in a small town by the guy who ran off stage when 500 people were shot at his concert in Vegas,” it posted.
Media Outlets Weigh In on Aldean’s Video
More than one media outlet editorialized the video.
A story in the Daily Beast was headlined “Jason Aldean Catches Heat for Racist, Pro-Gun Lyrics: ‘a Modern Lynching Song.’” That’s while Newsweek ran a piece titled, “Jason Aldean’s New Song Sparks Outrage Over Guns – ‘Very Scary Lyrics.’”
According to the entertainment trade magazine Variety, those condemning the song were also critical of Mr. Aldean filming “in front of a courthouse in Colombia, Tennessee that is well known for having been the sight of a lynching of a Black man in the 1920s.”
Mr. Aldean responded to his critics through social media on Tuesday.
“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. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” Mr. Aldean wrote.
Aldean Explains Song’s Lyrics, Says There’s No Mention of Race
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. 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.
“‘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 or background or belief,” he added.
Meanwhile, the video for “Try That In a Small Town” has received 1.6 million views and is #9 on Trending for music on YouTube. Country Aircheck’s add chart on Monday showed the single had been added to 125 stations, which is normally a sign that a song is a major hit.