What you need to know about the “Try That In A Small Town” controversy after CMT removes a Jason Aldean video.
Country Music Television is no longer airing Jason Aldean’s music video “Try That In A Small Town,” which sparked criticism after its release Friday.
The TV network pulled the video from rotation, a CMT spokesperson confirmed to USA TODAY in an email Wednesday.
The network stopped showing the music video after Aldean, who survived a mass shooting while he performed in 2017, faced backlash for the song, which many perceived as being in favor of gun violence and lynching. For More Information….
Not long after the video’s release, online critics highlighted the song lyrics as emblematic of songs heightening gun violence and lynching sentiments upon many in his rural, small-town fan base.
“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough / Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own / You cross that line, it won’t take long / For you to find out, I recommend you don’t / Try that in a small town,” Aldean sings.
Viewers also noted that scenes in the video were shot at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where a Black man named Henry Choate, 18, was lynched in 1927. The site is also where the infamous Columbia Race Riot occurred in 1946.
Aldean took to Twitter Tuesday to reject the criticism, sharing a lengthy statement on what the song means to him. “While I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music − this one goes too far,” he wrote.
Here’s what to know about the controversy surrounding Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town.”
Jason Aldean dropped ‘Try That In A Small Town’ video Friday to promote song as album release approaches
Aldean released his “Try That In A Small Town” song in May but dropped a video Friday to promote the single while building anticipation for an upcoming album release.
In the statement associated with the release he said When u grow up in a small town it’s that unspoken rule of ‘we all have each other’s backs and we look out for each other. It feels like somewhere along the way that sense of community and respect has gotten lost. Deep down, we are all ready to get back to that. I hope my new music video helps y’all know that u are not alone in feeling that way. Go check it out!”
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What critics are saying about Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That In A Small Town’
Social media was utilized by viewers of the video to call attention to what they found alarming.
Shannon Watts, founder of gun violence advocacy group Moms Demand Action, said on Twitter that the song is “an ode to a sundown town, suggesting people be beaten or shot for expressing free speech. It also insinuates that guns are being confiscated, the penalty for which is apparently death.”
Watts returned to Twitter Wednesday to celebrate CMT’s decision.
Singer Sheryl Crow also spoke up on Twitter. “I’m from a small town,” she wrote, addressing Aldean. “Even people in small towns are sick of violence. There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence. You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting. This is not American or small town-like.”
Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones wrote: “As Tennessee lawmakers, we have an obligation to condemn Jason Aldean’s heinous song calling for racist violence. What a shameful vision of gun extremism and vigilantism. We will continue to call for common sense gun laws, that protect ALL our children and communities.”
Aldean responded on Twitter Tuesday addressing the controversy surrounding “Try That In A Small Town,” sharing what the track means to him.
“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. 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.”
He continued: “As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91 − where so many lost their lives − and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
Aldean said that him,
the song refers to a sense of community that he felt while growing up “where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences. My political views have never been something I’ve hidden from and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to − that’s what this song is about.”
TackleBox, the production company for Aldean’s video, said the location that has come under scrutiny is a popular filming location, citing several other projects filmed there. They include the Lifetime Original movie “Steppin’ into the Holiday” with Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer, a music video from Runaway June “We Were Rich” and a Paramount holiday film “A Nashville Country Christmas” with Tanya Tucker – as well as the “Hannah Montana” film. The company said Aldean did not pick the location.
Aldean’s wife, Brittany, took to Instagram to support her other half.
“Never apologize for speaking the truth,” she wrote with a heart and American flag emoji, sharing an image of herself with the singer.