Even though “Try That in a Small Town” was released in May, backlash did not begin until the release of the music video. The song features lyrics about the riots and lawlessness around the country. The video shows Aldean performing in front of a Tennessee courthouse while media footage from riots and protests that have occurred across the country is shown on the courthouse. In between the images of the violent riots are scenes of a more peaceful America.
The lyrics challenge those who “carjack an old lady at a red light” or “cuss out a cop,” saying actions like that would not be allowed in a small town.
The backlash, which included Country Music Television (CMT) pulling the video from rotation three days after it initially aired, has seen streaming and on-demand audio of the video increase by 999 percent, according to Luminate. The video is currently the number one trending video under the “music” category on YouTube. Sales of the song also rose by 22,700 percent, from 1,000 to 228,000. The song is currently at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 list. The song had the biggest sales week in over 10 years for a country song.
Aldean spoke out about the controversy, saying race was never brought into the song and that actual news footage was used in the video. He stated the song was about the sense of community Aldean had when he was growing up.
During his concert at Riverbend Music Center, Aldean addressed the controversy, saying he “is a proud American, adding he wants to see the country get back to “what it once was.”
Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn have all spoken out in defense of Aldean.
The song was written by Tully Kennedy, Kelly Lovelace, Kurt Michael Allison, and Neil Thrasher.
Copyright 2023, USNewsMag.com