CMT Pulls Jason Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town” Video
Jason Aldean, no stranger to the culture wars, riled up quite a few people with his new single and music video. That number apparently includes the programmers at Country Music Television.
“Try That In A Small Town,” the lead single from Aldean’s next album, addresses several sub-groups including thieves, anti-police protestors, and gun control advocates, essentially lumping them all together into one bucket of people who ought not to “try that in a small town.” Aldean invites these folks to “see how far ya make it down the road” because “around here, we take care of our own.” It’s a song about how anyone who tries to impose progressive values or attempt petty crime (the two are conflated, see) will be subject to a vicious beating by “good ol’ boys” in rural America, which is framed as a beacon of morality.
The video, released last Friday, finds Aldean performing in front of a courthouse, interspersed with images of people confronting police officers, robbing convenience stores, etc. Near the end, we see footage of Americana and hear a soundbite about farmers leaving their fields to take care of a neighbor in need. Specifically, the clip was filmed at Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, TN, where an 18-year-old Black man named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927 after being accused of accused of attacking a white girl. The choice of setting led some onlookers to speculate that Aldean is singing about lynching, not just beating people up.
Now, as Billboard reports, CMT has pulled the video. The network, which premiered “Try That In A Small Town” Friday and had it in heavy rotation over the weekend, has not given a reason for taking it off the air.
Aldean issued the following statement:
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 -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.
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.
Try That In A Small Town, for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had 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.
Aldean kicked off his Highway Desperado Tour over the weekend and succumbed to heat exhaustion at Saturday’s show in Hartford. Last year, his wife Brittany was involved in a high-profile spat over gender identity that also involved Tucker Carlson and Maren Morris. Back in 2015, he donned blackface and dressed as Lil Wayne for Halloween.