Country singer Jason Aldean has doubled down on his defense of “Try That in a Small Town” and said there is nothing wrong with it; it is not racist and does not promote gun violence. Speaking on Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night podcast on October 21, the controversial star said, “If you’ve got common sense, you can look at the video and see, I’m not sayin’ anything that’s not true.”
Mr. Aldean’s video showed Black Lives Matter riots and featured the singer and his band performing outside a courthouse that was once the scene of a black man’s lynching.
The singer added that he believes the song attracted negative attention because it includes the lyrics “Got a gun that my granddad gave me,” and this was enough to turn the anti-gun lobby against him immediately.
The song topped several charts in July when some streaming sites banned it amid accusations of racism. Senior politicians weighed in on the row, and Aldean was supported and defended by President Trump and Floridian Governor Ron DeSantis. Critics said the singer was guilty of promoting violence by including lyrics implying that small-town people would not tolerate certain behaviors that might be acceptable in big cities.
The words “Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk, carjack an old lady at a red light, Well, try that in a small town and see how far you make it down the road” were condemned as an endorsement of vigilantism, which Democratic Tennessee state Rep. Justin Jones said harked back to the racially segregated south that Aldean was glorifying.
However, the artist won the respect and praise of conservatives when he refused to back down or apologize. Many rushed to buy the song and ensure it ranked highly in the charts as a protest against what many saw as censorship by left-wing advocates and activists. Some commentators suggested that Aldean’s success would prompt other artists to take similarly controversial positions in an increasingly divided America.