UPDATE: 7/18 4:25 PM ET
Jason Aldean broke his silence after the online backlash over his song “Try That in a Small Town”.
“Over the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song released since May) and subjected to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not very pleased with the national BLM protests. These references are not only without merit, but dangerous,” he said. tweeted on Tuesday, July 18th. “There isn’t a single lyric in the song that references or points to race — and there isn’t a single music video that isn’t real news — and while I may try to respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music — this one goes too far.
In his statement, Aldean slammed critics for bringing up a mass shooting at his 2017 concert.
“As many have pointed out, I was present on Route 91 – where many lost their lives – and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, myself included, wants to continue to see meaningless headlines or families torn apart,” he continued. “’Try That In A Small Town’, for me, refers to the feeling of a community I had growing up, where we looked out for our neighbors, regardless of differences in background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any difference. My political views have never been something I’ve hidden away, and I know many of us in this country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least one day without a headline keeping us up at night. But the desire for it to happen – that’s what this song is about.
Original story below:
Jason’s side is facing backlash for its song “Try That in a Small Town,” which features pro-gun messages.
The track quickly raised eyebrows upon its release on Friday, July 14th as fans parsed the controversial lyrics.
“Curse a cop, spit in his face / Step on the flag and light it / Yeah, you think you’re tough,” sings Aldean, 46. “Well, try this in a small town / See how far you can get / This way, we take care of our own / You cross that line, it won’t be long / For you to find out, I recommend you not.
Aldean references gun control proposals, noting, “Got a gun my grandfather gave me / They say one day they’ll get it together / Well that might fly in town, good luck.”
Since then, listeners have taken to social media to criticize Aldean’s songwriting, especially in light of his own experience with mass shootings. In 2017, a gunman opened fire on the audience at a Las Vegas concert while Aldean was performing onstage, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured.
“Uvalde? Small town. VA technology? Small university town. New city? Small New England town. Park? Small town that had just been voted the *safest* city in Florida. Most mass shootings take place in *small towns* @Jason_Aldean. Your listeners are dying,” tweeted one social media user on Monday, July 17th.
Aldean, for his part, has not publicly addressed the backlash, but shed light on the inspiration of the song on Friday. “When you grow up in a small town, it’s that unspoken rule of ‘we all protect and look out for each other,’” he tweeted. “It seems that somewhere along the way, that sense of community and respect got lost. Deep down, we’re all ready to get back to that. I hope my new music video helps you guys know that you are not alone in feeling this way.”
After the Las Vegas incident, Aldean confessed at the Today to show that he initially didn’t register what was going on in the crowd.
“We wear in-ear monitors when we’re on stage. And really all you can hear is the music and, you know, maybe your guys can talk to you into microphones that are on the side of the stage or whatever,” he explained in November 2017. first time i thought a speaker exploded. It just sounded like something snapping. And then, I’m looking around like, ‘What is this?’ [and] trying to figure out what it is. And then it stopped, so I thought, they must have fixed it, so I kept doing my thing.
Aldean honored those affected by the shooting during a separate performance that same month.
“I know I don’t need to tell you this, but it’s been a tough couple of months for us here and it’s really fun to come back and play for the people that matter, which is you,” he told the audience at the time. “I spent a long, long time trying to make it in this business and doing something I really enjoy. I’ll be damned if someone stops me from doing this.
Aldean’s small-town anthem isn’t the first time he’s raised eyebrows. In August 2022, Jason showed support for his wife Brittany Aldean after she made alleged transphobic comments.
“I would really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through the tomboy phase. I love this girl life,” Brittany, 34, wrote via Instagram at the time.
In response, Maren Morris called Brittany referring to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building. “Is it so easy, like, not to be a despicable human? Sell your clips and close, Uprising Barbie,” she tweeted.
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Jason, for his part, commented on the drama calling Brittany “MY Barbie” in an Instagram comment.