Taste of Country / YouTube
Jason Aldean has been no stranger to controversy throughout his career, but his latest single, “Try That in a Small Town,” has stirred up quite a storm in the country music world. Accused of promoting gun violence and racism, the song’s lyrics and music video have faced criticism and backlash. However, during a recent appearance on the Audacy podcast Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night, Aldean opened up about why he stands by the song and addressed what he believes is the biggest issue people have with it.
“If you’ve got common sense, you can look at the video and see, I’m not sayin’ anything that’s not true,” Aldean said.
In a conversation with host Coop, Aldean defended the song’s message and the imagery used in its video. He explained that the video showed real events from 2020, capturing moments of unrest and conflict.
“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,” he told Coop.
Aldean’s intention with “Try That in a Small Town” was to spark a conversation about the state of the country, regardless of political affiliations. He wanted to be the voice that called out what he believed was wrong when others in the music and entertainment industry remained silent.
“I don’t care which side of the political fence you want to stand on, but to me, what I was seeing was wrong, and nobody would say anything, especially in the music industry or entertainment industry,” Aldean said. “It just kind of reaches a breaking point to where you’re like, ‘Somebody needs to say something, and if nobody’s gonna do it, then I’ll be the guy.’”
Aldean went on to say what he felt was the biggest part of the controversy surrounding the song and it was the fact that he mentioned a firearm in the lyrics: “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that s— might fly in the city, good luck.” According to Aldean, this line ruffled feathers, even before people had a chance to see the music video.
“I just remember thinking, ‘Man, you guys haven’t even seen the video yet,’” he said.
Aldean told Coop that even though some people have misconstrued the song to be something that it’s not, overall, he’s “pretty amazed” that the song has gotten so much attention. “Try That in a Small Town” soared to the top of the charts, hitting No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, and No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It also saw the largest week of sales for a country song in over a decade, according to Billboard.
In the face of backlash, Aldean hasn’t shied away from addressing the controversy head-on. He referred to it as “cancel culture” and expressed his love for his country, family, and his desire to see it restored to its former glory.
Aldean said, “What I am is a proud American. I’m proud to be from here. I love our country, I want to see it restored to what it once was before all this bulls— started happening to us. I love our country, I love my family, and I will do anything to protect that. I’ll tell you that right now.”
While some fellow artists and celebrities expressed their concern over the song on social media, Jason Aldean continues to stand by his message in “Try That in a Small Town.”
Aldean’s willingness to address sensitive topics is nothing new. Whether you agree with him or not, “Try That in a Small Town” has certainly ignited a conversation that is far from over. Jason Aldean remains unapologetically committed to using his platform to speak his truth and inspire dialogue within the country music community and beyond.
Listen to a clip of Jason Aldean’s podcast interview below!