Jason Aldean addressed the backlash to his new single “Try That in a Small Town” during his concert in Ohio 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 surrounding the song and its accompanying music video. Many have called the lyrics and images racist and anti-protest.
“It’s been a long week and I’ve seen a lot of things that suggest I’m this, that suggest I’m that,” Aldean told the crowd at a video captured by fans. “I feel like everyone is entitled to their opinion. You can think all you want, that doesn’t mean it’s true.”
He added, “What I am is a proud American. I am proud to be from here. I love our country. I want to see it get back to what it used to be before all this bullshit happened 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 with loud cheers from the audience and a chant of “USA! USA!”
Earlier this week, a CMT representative confirmed this Billboard that the media 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 being burned, protesters clashing with police, looters smashing a storefront and thieves robbing a commercial 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 day lynch song,” Aldean further extended the backlash from the stage during his Cincinnati show.
“You guys know how it is today, cancellation culture is a thing. If people don’t like what you say, they try to make sure they can cancel you, which means try to destroy your life, destroy everything,” the singer said. said audience members. “One thing I saw this week was a group of country music fans who can see a lot of bulls. I saw country music fans come together like I’ve never seen before and it was so bad- to see. Thank you guys so much.”
Before performing “Try That in a Small Town,” Aldean noted that many people had asked him if he would perform the song live.
“I said, ‘You know, the people who come to my shows, you guys know what I’m about. You know what I stand for.’ I have never shied away from that,” he said. “You have the same values, the same principles that I have, which is that we want to take our kids to a movie and not worry about some a-hole coming in there shooting the theater, right? So when someone asked me, ‘Hey man, do you think you’re gonna play the song tonight?’ The answer is simple. The people have spoken and you guys have spoken very, very loudly this week.”
Watch Aldean address the “Try That in a Small Town” reaction on Twitter below.