Country star Jason Aldean opens up about the unexpected backlash surrounding his song and video, “Try That in a Small Town.” The controversial track ignited debates over its themes and geographical context, with Aldean defending his intentions and expressing surprise at the extent of the controversy.
Understanding the Controversy
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, country star Jason Aldean expressed his surprise at the backlash his song and video, “Try That in a Small Town,” received. The track, featured on his 11th studio album, Highway Desperado, stirred controversy due to its perceived pro-gun and violent themes. While Aldean expected the song to spark conversation about the state of the country, the extent of the backlash caught him off guard.
Critics labeled the song a “modern lynching song” and condemned its threat-filled lyrics. The video, filmed in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, TN, added to the controversy. This location is historically significant, associated with a 1927 lynching and a 1946 race riot. Aldean acknowledged that the video showed people of different races engaging in what he considered “not cool” activities. However, the video also featured imagery of an American flag burning, confrontations between protesters and police, and acts of theft and looting, which intensified the debate.
Aldean maintained that the video’s location was not intentionally chosen for its historical significance. He noted that many other productions had used the same site without any prior controversy. However, he believes that people attempted to find fault with the video when there was none. The video was removed from CMT shortly after its debut due to its provocative content.
Interpreting the Song
The song’s lyrics contain lines like “around here we take care of our own,” which some interpreted as “white people circling the wagons.” Aldean argued that the song’s message is simple: it reflects what he has observed in the small towns of Georgia where he grew up. He denied any racial or divisive connotations, explaining that he had never witnessed such events and did not believe they would endure in his hometowns.
Maren Morris Feud
Aldean was also questioned about his ongoing feud with fellow country artist Maren Morris. The feud escalated when Morris criticized Aldean and his wife, Brittany, for transphobic comments. In response, Morris released a single and video seen as a commentary on Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town.” Aldean clarified that he has had minimal contact with Morris and did not have a strong opinion about her. He was perplexed by Morris’s public criticisms, given their lack of interaction.
In a lightning round of questions, Aldean was asked about his opinions on various political matters. Regarding President Biden’s election legitimacy, he replied, “depends on who you ask.” He also expressed his satisfaction with his choice not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. When asked if he would like former President Donald Trump to be the GOP nominee next year, he responded that it “wouldn’t hurt his feelings,” as he has had positive interactions with Trump and had nothing but praise for him.
In the end, Aldean’s interview highlights the ongoing debates surrounding his controversial song and video while shedding light on his personal views and experiences.