Jason Aldean addressed the backlash of his new song “Try That in a Small Town” during his Ohio concert on Friday (July 21).
The 46-year-old country star took a moment during his Highway Desperado Tour stop at Cincinnati’s Riverbend Music Center to reflect on the recent controversy that erupted surrounding the track and its corresponding music video. Many have called the lyrics and imagery racist and anti-protest.
“It’s been a long week and I’ve seen a lot of stuff suggesting I’m this, suggesting I’m that,” Aldean told the crowd in a fan-captured video. “I feel like everybody’s entitled to their opinion. You can think something all you want to, it doesn’t mean it’s true.”
He added, “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 my country, I love my family, and I will do anything to protect that, I can tell you that right now.”
Aldean’s words were met by roaring cheers from the audience and a chant of “USA! USA!”
Earlier this week, a CMT representative confirmed to Billboard that the outlet had pulled the video for “Try That in a Small Town” after playing it for three days, but did not comment further. The controversial clip features footage of an American flag burning, protesters having confrontations with police, looters breaking a display case and thieves robbing a convenience store.
After releasing a statement on Tuesday (July 18) in response to claims that “Try That in a Small Town” is pro-gun, pro-violence and a “modern lynching song,” Aldean further expanded on the backlash from the stage during his Cincinnati show.
“You guys know how it is this day and age, cancel culture is a thing. If people don’t like what you say, they try to make sure that they can cancel you, which means try and ruin your life, ruin everything,” the singer told audience members. “One thing I saw this week was a bunch of country music fans that can see through a lot of the bulls—. I saw country music fans rally like I’ve never seen before and it was pretty bada– to watch. Thank you guys so much.”
Prior to performing “Try That in a Small Town,” Aldean noted that many people had asked him whether he’d be performing the song live.
“I said, ‘You know, people that come to my shows, you guys know what I’m about. You know what I stand for.’ I never shied away from that at all,” he said. “You have the same values, the same principles that I have, which is we we want to take our kids to a movie and not worry about some a–hole coming in there shooting up the theater, right? So when somebody asked me, ‘Hey man, do you think you’re going to play the song tonight?’ The answer is simple. The people have spoken and you guys spoke very, very loudly this week.”
Watch Aldean address the “Try That in a Small Town” backlash on Twitter below.
🇺🇸 USA Chants Break Out as Jason Aldean Addresses the Media Attacks on Him This Week
“I love our country. I want to see it restored to what it once was before all this bullsh*t started happening to us.”
*From last night’s show in Cincinnati, OH (7/21) pic.twitter.com/VKGRIp0PvD
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) July 22, 2023