From Country Anthem to Political Platform: Unpacking Jason Aldean's 'Try That in a Small Town'countrymusic,JasonAldean,TryThatinaSmallTown,politicalthemes,countryanthem
From Country Anthem to Political Platform: Unpacking Jason Aldean's 'Try That in a Small Town'

From Country Anthem to Political Platform: Unpacking Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’

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How Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That in a Small Town’ Became a Political Controversy


Updated July 20, 2023 5:08 PM ET

Originally published July 20, 2023 2:45 PM ET

Country music singer Jason Aldean’s music video for his song “Try That in a Small Town” has stirred up a mixed bag of backlash and praise, ultimately leading Country Music Television (CMT) to announce that they will no longer air the video. Critics of the video argue that it glorifies gun violence and perpetuates racist ideas. The controversy surrounding the video has sparked both political and philosophical discussions, with interpretations of its message often falling along voting divides.

What is “Try That in a Small Town” about?

Aldean, a country singer from Macon, Georgia, released the song in May, but it was not until the release of the music video on July 14 that the controversy escalated. In a statement accompanying the video, Aldean explained that the song represents an “unspoken rule” for those raised in small towns, emphasizing the idea that communities in small towns look out for each other. The lyrics of the song depict threats to outsiders and imply that those outsiders are from cities, with references to crimes that might occur in urban settings. The chorus emphasizes the tight-knit nature of small towns and serves as a warning to those who cross certain lines.

Why is the video so divisive?

The video incorporates various visuals, including scenes of vandalizing, riots, and police encounters, reminiscent of racial injustice protests. Some scenes include Fox News chyrons, while others appear to be stock footage from different locations. However, the main point of contention revolves around the video’s setting – the Maury County Courthouse building in Columbia, Tennessee. This location has a historical legacy of racial violence, including race riots in 1946 and a lynching in 1927. The choice of this backdrop has sparked criticism, as it has evoked painful memories for many.

What is Aldean saying?

In response to the accusations that the video promotes lynching and racial violence, Aldean has vehemently denied such interpretations. He argues that there is not a single lyric in the song that references race and claims that the song is about the feeling of community experienced in small towns, where people take care of each other regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. Aldean emphasizes that he does not want to see senseless violence or families torn apart, and asserts that the song is not meant to advocate for violence or racism.

How are other people reacting?

The song has garnered criticism from gun control advocates, who argue that it glorifies a dangerous eye-for-an-eye mentality. Some commentators perceive the video’s hints at violence as racial dog whistles, particularly in relation to the portrayal of protests and flag-burning. On the other hand, some individuals, including musicians like Travis Tritt and Blanco Brown, defend the song, viewing the criticism as unfair social commentary. Many political commentators on the right have come to Aldean’s defense, arguing that the country music genre, in general, has been a platform for under-appreciated conservative values.


The controversy surrounding Jason Aldean’s music video highlights the intersection of art, politics, and ideology. The interpretation of a song can vary greatly depending on one’s political leanings and personal experiences. While some see the video as glorifying violence and perpetuating racism, others view it as a celebration of small-town communities and self-reliance.

As with any form of art and expression, it is important to approach it with an open mind and engage in thoughtful discourse. Instead of dismissing differing perspectives outright, it is crucial to engage in conversations that foster understanding and empathy. Music has the power to evoke strong emotions and ignite discussions, and it is in these discussions that we can collectively work towards a more inclusive and compassionate society.


From Country Anthem to Political Platform: Unpacking Jason Aldean
<< photo by Flash Dantz >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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Chen Emily

Hi, I'm Emily Chen, and I'm passionate about storytelling. As a journalist, I strive to share the stories that matter most and shed light on the issues that affect us all.

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