Written by David Zimmermann
What happened? Country star Jason Aldean was hit by the media and the country music industry after releasing the music video for his newest song, “Try That in a Small Town.” Although released in May, the song gained further attention over the music video’s depiction and condemnation of the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. Country Music Television pulled the song from its network after being accused of glorifying gun violence, perpetuating racism, and being a “pro-lynching song.”
The song: The song covers Aldean’s perspective that violent protesters would not get away with rioting in a small town because of its tight-knit community and pro-2A attitudes. According to him, the song represents the desire to take “care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.” He was hit for filming part of the video in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a lynching occurred a hundred years ago. However, the song did not reference lynching or race, and the filming location is popular.
Comparisons: The attacks imposed upon “Try That in a Small Town” highlights entertainment critics’ hypocrisy when judging the moral quality of music. Aldean’s song has been juxtaposed with rap music, which glorifies gang violence, drug usage, and sexual debauchery — and is celebrated for doing so by the entertainment industry. Aldean’s country song, on the other hand, condemning violent rioting, has been given the cancel treatment.
Country has changed: Country music and the industry has long been seen as a conservative outpost in the liberal-dominated entertainment industry — but it hasn’t been immune to shifting leftward. Braid Paisley, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, and newer stars like Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris have been financially or ideologically tied to Democrat causes. Most other stars like Morgan Wallen avoid politics altogether. Jason Aldean has been one of the few vocal Republicans and has been hit by the industry, which is vastly more liberal than its audience.