Jason Aldean continued to double down on his defense of his song “Try That in a Small Town” with an argument tailor-made to his Boston fans.
The 46-year-old country singer took the stage in Massachusetts on Saturday, July 29, as part of his Highway Desperado tour and thanked his devotees for standing by his side amid the public backlash. Before playing his controversial tune — which catapulted to the top of the charts despite widespread criticism — Aldean reflected on the strength of the Boston community.
“I was lying in bed last night and thinking to myself, you guys would get this better than anybody, right?” he said in social media footage from the concert, claiming his song’s intended message has been “overshadowed by all the bulls–t.”
Aldean paced across the stage as he continued: “I remember a time, I think it was April of 2013, when the Boston Marathon bombings happened. You guys remember this, right? What I saw when that happened was, not a small town — a big ass town — come together. … The whole country, especially Boston, came together to find these two pricks that did that. Any of you guys that would’ve found those guys before the cops did, I know you guys from Boston, and you guys would’ve beat the s–t out of [them].”
Aldean argued that “Try That in a Small Town” is “not about race,” shutting down the negative reviews of his music. “It’s about people getting their s–t together [and] acting right,” he said. “You’re hearing from the person that made the record. Everybody is trying to tell you what I meant. They don’t know what I meant.”
The declaration was met with loud cheers from the crowd. “I know you guys are like me, you want to be able to send your kids to school and not have to worry about something happening while they’re at school. … To me, that’s not a racial issue,” he continued. “I don’t give a s–t what color you are. If you’re acting out, burning down buildings, costing taxpayers all this money, just for you to go and show that you’re pissed off, to me I just don’t get that. We’re just never going to see eye to eye about that s–t.”
Aldean has been at the center of controversy since July 14 when he dropped the music video for “Try That in a Small Town” two months after the song’s initial release. The lyrics challenge anyone to “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store” or “cuss out a cop” in a small town and “see how far ya make it down the road.”
When the music video was first released, it included news footage from 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations — but depictions of the riots have since been edited out. CMT previously pulled the video from its rotation as the online debate continued.
Musicians including Sheryl Crow and Jason Isbell have taken sides in the conversation, questioning Aldean’s songwriting tactics. His wife, Brittany Aldean, however, has been Jason’s most vocal supporter.
“Never apologize for speaking the truth❣️🇺🇸,” she captioned a July 18 Instagram photo with her husband after slamming the “repulsive narrative” about his song.
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One day later, Brittany gave a shout-out to her family’s loyal fans. “Man do we love y’all. 💛 Free thinkers, lions not sheep… thankful for the support, always!” she wrote via Instagram.