Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ controversy explained and celeb backlash

Jason Aldean In recent weeks it has faced criticism for its latest track, ‘Try That in a Small Town’, which was released on 19 May, particularly with the release of its music video on 14 July.

Several listeners have labeled the song “racist” or “radical” on social media, with members of the country’s music industry sharing their views as well.

But why has there been such an intense reaction to the song in the past week, nearly two months after it was first released? For more information, read…

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What Is Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That In A Small Town’ About?

The country singer’s first release of the year, ‘Try That in a Small Town’ is about the sense of community in rural, small communities as opposed to big city locales.

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The 46-year-old cited crimes such as car snatching, flag burning, dacoity and protests against the police, which he said are less likely to happen in smaller towns. Controversially, Jason states his preference to have his own gun.

Jason Aldean performs on stage during the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)© Getty Images
Jason’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ gets intense backlash

The chorus states, “Try it in a small town/See how far you take it on the road,” and adds “If you looking for a fight/Try it in a small town.”

Why is the response to Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ getting?

The protest began when the music video for the track was released last week, which was shot in Columbia, Tennessee (Jason’s home state) and included shots of the singer and his band, as well as staged crimes and news clippings.

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There was an immediate reaction to his choice of backdrop, the Maury County Courthouse, as it was the site of the 1927 murder of 18-year-old black teen Henry Choate and the 1946 Columbia Race Riots.

Jason Aldean performs onstage during the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada© Getty Images
The country star’s track has been slammed as racist and antiquated

Criticism of the video, which included images from the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police brutality, brought renewed attention to the song, leading many to regard it as an antiquated idea of ​​pro-gun violence and sunset cities.

What are people saying about Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’?

Many have spoken out for and against the song on social media, with Democratic lawmakers criticizing the track and many others criticizing his and his wife Britney’s previous controversial statements on conservative politics and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

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Gloria Sweet-Love, president of Tennessee’s NAACP chapter, criticized the song and its accompanying music video to TMZ, saying it was “extremely offensive to people of color, especially black people.”

Fellow musicians have also spoken out, with Sheryl Crow tweeting: “I’m from a small town. Even small town people are fed up with violence. There is nothing small town or American about promoting violence. You should know this better than any mass shooting survivor. This is not American or small town like that. This just sucks.”

Jason Isbell also wrote: “Dare Aldean to write his own next single. That’s what we try in our small town,” while Margo Price said: “I’m just here to say Jason Aldean is a clown. What else do you all expect from a guy who wore black face in 2015?”

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The “Dirt Road Anthem” singer released a statement in response to the backlash, stressing that the notion that his song was racist “is not only unqualified, but dangerous.”

Jason Aldean posing in the Wonderwall Portrait Studio at the 2014 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee© Getty Images
The singer said, “‘Try That in a Small Town’, to me, refers to the sense of community I grew up in, where we looked after our neighbors regardless of differences of background or faith.”

He continued, “‘Try That in a Small Town’, to me, refers to the sense of community I grew up in, where we cared for our neighbors regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”

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He also cited appearances in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, saying that “no one, including me, wants to continue to see meaningless headlines or families being torn apart.”

How has Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ fared?

The music video was removed from rotation on CMT a few days after its release, and while a pre-recorded version was screened during the July 19 CMA Fest, ABC did not air the video.

CMA Fest - "cma fest," The summer concert hosted by Dierks Bentley, Elle King and Lainie Wilson returns with a three-hour primetime concert special filmed during CMA Fest's 50th anniversary, airing Wednesday, July 19.© Getty Images
Jason performed the track at CMA Fest on July 19.

However, the video is still up on YouTube and has been viewed nearly six million times in six days. The song is also charting in radio play and sales and is currently at the top of the US iTunes chart.

Although it did not make a major impact on any national Billboard charts, it made the top 40 of the Hot Country Songs chart in June, and is predicted to rise further the following week due to renewed interest in the track.