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Jason Aldean Faces Backlash for Pro-Gun Lyrics in New Song ‘Try That in a Small Town’

Jason Aldean Faces Backlash for Pro-Gun Lyrics in New Song Try That in a Small Town
Jason Aldean.AFF-USA/Shutterstock

UPDATE: 7/18 4:25 p.m. ET

Jason Aldean broke his silence following online backlash about his song “Try That in a Small Town.”

“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,” he tweeted on Tuesday, July 18. “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.”

In his statement, Aldean slammed critics for bringing up a mass shooting at his 2017 concert.

“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,” he continued. “‘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.”

Original story below:

Jason Aldean is facing backlash for his song “Try That in a Small Town,” which features pro-gun messaging.

The track quickly raised eyebrows following its release on Friday, July 14, as fans parsed through the controversial lyrics.

“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough,” Aldean, 46, sings. “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.”

Aldean makes references to gun control proposals, noting, “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that s—t might fly in the city, good luck.”

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Listeners have since taken to social media to call out Aldean’s songwriting, especially in light of his own experience with mass shootings. In 2017, a gunman opened fire in the audience of a Las Vegas concert while Aldean was performing on stage, leaving 58 people dead and 546 others injured.

“Uvalde? Small town. VA Tech? Small college town. Newtown? Small New England town. Parkland? Small town that had just been voted Florida’s *safest* town. Most mass shootings occur in *small towns* @Jason_Aldean. Your listeners are dying,” a social media user tweeted on Monday, July 17.

Jason Aldean Faces Backlash for Pro-Gun Lyrics in New Song Try That in a Small Town
Jason Aldean. Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Aldean, for his part, has not publicly addressed the backlash, but he shed light on the song’s inspiration on Friday. “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,’” he tweeted. “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.”


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Following the Vegas incident, Aldean confessed on the Today show that he initially didn’t register what was happening in the crowd.

“We wear in-ear monitors when we’re on stage. And really all you can hear is the music and, you know, maybe your guys that can talk to you on microphones that are on side-stage or whatever,” he explained in November 2017. “So when it first happened, I thought a speaker had blown. It just sounded like a crackling something. And so, I’m kind of looking around like, ‘What is that?’ [and] trying to figure out what it is. And then it stopped, so I was like, they must have got it fixed, so I kept doing my thing.”

Aldean honored those affected by the shooting during a separate performance that same month.

“I know I don’t have to tell you guys this, but it’s been a rough couple of months for us up here and it’s a lot of fun to get back out and play for the people that matter, which is you guys,” he told the audience at the time. “I spent a lot of time and a long time trying to make it in this business and doing something that I really enjoy. I’ll be damned if anybody is ever going to stop me from doing that.”

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Aldean’s small-town anthem isn’t the first time he’s raised eyebrows. In August 2022, Jason showed support for wife Brittany Aldean after she made alleged transphobic comments.

“I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life,” Brittany, 34, wrote via Instagram at the time.

In response, Marren Morris called out Brittany by referring to the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol building. “It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie,” she tweeted.

Jason, for his part, weighed in on the drama by calling Brittany “MY Barbie” in an Instagram comment.

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