Songwriter's Corner|

Photo: Jason Aldean | By Lyndsey Parker, Editor in Chief at Yahoo Music | “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,” country star Jason Aldean wrote on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “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.”

Why are music fans protesting Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town”?

Aldean took to social media Tuesday to address the controversy surrounding the new video for his politically charged single, “Try That in a Small Town.” The country star — who witnessed the worst gun massacre in U.S. history at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas — had already caught flak for the song’s seemingly pro-gun lyrics, which celebrate “good ol’ boys raised right” who “take care of their own.” In a tweet, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America founder Shannon Watts pointed out the hypocrisy of an artist “who was onstage during the mass shooting… that killed 60 people and wounded over 400 more” recording a song “about how he and his friends will shoot you if you try to take their guns.” In another viral tweet, police reform activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham pointed out: “Uvalde? Small town. VA Tech? Small college town. Newtown? Small New England town. Parkland? Small town that had just been voted Florida’s *safest* town. Most mass shootings occur in *small towns*. Your listeners are dying.”

Why has Aldean’s music video only increased the backlash?

Public outrage regarding “Try That in a Small Town” escalated on July 14, nearly two months after the single’s release, when Aldean released its music video accompanied with a statement about yearning to “get back” to a small-town “sense of community and respect” that has “gotten lost.” As both Mississippi Free Press news editor Ashton Pittman and a scathing Variety op-ed titled “Jason Aldean Already Had the Most Contemptible Country Song of the Decade. The Video Is Worse” noted, the Shaun Silva-directed “Try That in a Small Town” video — which intersperses Aldean’s performance in front of an American flag with news footage of what appear to be 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, flag-burnings, lootings and police attacks — was filmed outside the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn. It was at this site in 1927 that a white lynch mob dragged an 18-year-old Black man named Henry Choate behind a car before hanging him from a second-story courthouse window. “That’s where Aldean chose to sing about murdering people who don’t respect police,” Pittman tweeted, juxtaposing an exterior courthouse screenshot from Aldean’s video with an archival newspaper photo of Choate’s lynching.
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Mayor of Town Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ Video Was Filmed in Responds to Controversy

Photo: Jason Aldean |

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