Jason Aldean is going to bat for his song “Try That in a Small Town” after previously defending the track following controversy over its music video.
In an interview on “Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night” podcast, the country singer knocked critics for turning the song and its visuals “into something that it’s not” after facing backlash over the video filmed at the site of the 1927 killing of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old Black teen lynched by a mob in Tennessee.
“If you’ve got common sense, you can look at the video and see, I’m not sayin’ anything that’s not true,” explained Aldean, who previously defended himself against accusations that the track was a “pro-lynching song.”
He added, “In the video, I’m showin’ you what happened — I didn’t do it, I didn’t create it — it just happened, and I saw it, and I’m not cool with it.”
Aldean, who has kicked it with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in recent years, noted that the controversy brought “a lot of attention” to the song and video, calling the response “pretty amazing.”
The “Try That in a Small Town” video, pulled from CMT and later edited to remove clips of Black Lives Matter demonstrations from 2020, includes images of demonstrators lighting an American flag on fire and tossing Molotov cocktails, along with other clips from various protests.
With lyrics that warn against crossing “that line,” lighting up or stomping flags and cursing “out a cop” before spitting in their face, the song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this summer.
In his appearance on the podcast, Aldean said he isn’t going to “go out and explain” himself whenever there’s a take on his song or video’s meaning.
“To me, what I was seeing was wrong, and nobody would say anything, especially in the music industry or entertainment industry,” said Aldean. “It just kind of reaches a breaking point to where you’re like, ‘Man, somebody needs to say somethin’, and if nobody’s gonna do it, then I’ll be the guy.’”
However, Aldean’s song received criticism from his country music peers as well, including Sheryl Crow, who said there’s “nothing small-town or American about promoting violence.”