Jason Aldean Addresses Song Controversy

His latest single is sparking an uproar of opinion, both for and against

By kncitom on July 19, 2023
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – JUNE 10: Jason Aldean performs on stage during day three of CMA Fest 2023 at Nissan Stadium on June 10, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/WireImage,)

Even though the song has been out since May, “Try That in a Small Town” from Jason Aldean has recently been the subject of intense controversy for its lyrics, which do not hold back.

Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalkCarjack an old lady at a red lightPull a gun on the owner of a liquor storeYa think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like
Cuss out a cop, spit in his faceStomp on the flag and light it upYeah, ya think you’re tough
Well, try that in a small townSee how far ya make it down the roadAround here, we take care of our ownYou cross that line, it won’t take longFor you to find out, I recommend you don’tTry that in a small town
The song was written not by Aldean, as many people on both sides of the controversy assume, but by Kelly Loveless, Neil Thrasher, Tully Kennedy and Kurt Michael Allison. Loveless has been a co-writer with Brad Paisley, and Thrasher, another longtime Nashville songwriter, has co-penned hits like “There Goes My Life” and “Fast Cars and Freedom”. Tully has co-written hits for Aldean before, including “If I Didn’t Love You” and “Trouble With a Heartache”. And Allison, “That’s What Tequila Does” for Aldean. But, he chose to cut it, and release it, and the message of the song is a strong one, which is why it is dividing opinions. Opponents say the song promotes vigilante violence. Others point out it’s an odd choice for someone who was literally onstage during the tragic 2017 shooting massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.  The video includes news footage of Black Lives Matter protests and other incidences of street violence and crime. The opening scene was shot in front of a town hall where a black man was lynched in 1927.
Supporters herald it as a song about community, standing up to lawlessness and violence, holding lawbreakers accountable and neighbors who look out for their own. 
On Tuesday, Aldean himself issued a statement about the song
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. 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 continues 
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. 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.
Country Music Television (CMT) has dropped the song from its video rotation, but, at the same time, the song has rocketed to the number one on the iTunes chart, which tracks song purchases. And that indicates that one thing is for sure – in this divided country right now, the controversy over “Try That in a Small Town” will likely continue for awhile, and it’s highly doubtful either side will budge. 

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