“Try Than in Small Town” might have faded in popularity since the music video for it released over the summer sent the song screaming into the stratosphere for streams and views, but Jason Aldean continues to stand by it and its controversial message in interviews.
Such is what he did during a recent episode of the “Coop’s Rockin’ Country Saturday Night” podcast, defending the message. Further, he said he felt that he had to release the song as he saw America ripped apart by rampant crime and looting in 2020.
Defending it from the start, Aldean said, “If you’ve got common sense, you can look at the video and see, I’m not sayin’ anything that’s not true.” Continuing, he noted that the controversial riot footage in the video is meant to portray what actually happened in America, distasteful as many people find it: “In the video, I’m showin’ you what happened — I didn’t do it, I didn’t create it — it just happened, and I saw it, and I’m not cool with it.”
He then added that he doesn’t think one needs to be a right-winger to support the song, just someone as fed up as he is about the state of the country. He said, “I don’t care which side of the political fence you want to stand on, but to me, what I was seeing was wrong, and nobody would say anything, especially in the music industry or entertainment industry. It just kind of reaches a breaking point to where you’re like, ‘Somebody needs to say something, and if nobody’s gonna do it, then I’ll be the guy.’”
Aldean also noted that country has always appealed to a more blue-collar base, a base that likely wasn’t offended by the message: “Country music is blue-collar music, it’s for every man out there, and that was always my thing — it’s like, I feel like this.”
He also joked about people getting offended when the song was released in May to little fanfare, as he knew the video would make then explode: “The biggest issue, I think, people had when we released the song was that it mentioned ‘having a gun that my grandfather gave me.’ I mentioned a gun, that’s a ‘no, no’ right now. I just remember thinking, ‘Man, you guys haven’t even seen the video yet.’” In the referenced verse, Aldean sings, “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up / Well, that s— might fly in the city, good luck.”
Aldean also argued that he’s still a patriot despite the way the country is headed, saying, “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 our country, I love my family, and I will do anything to protect that. I’ll tell you that right now.”
And, regardless of how much the usual suspects hated it, “Try That in a Small Town” was hugely popular across America. Not only did it end up reaching No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it also had the largest week of sales for a country song in more than 10 years, according to Billboard.
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