“Try that on CMT,” Jason Aldean just got told.
The country-music network pulled Mr. Aldean’s video for his latest hit ”Try That in a Small Town,” after days of accusations of racism and gun fetishism.
The network confirmed to Variety on Tuesday that it had pulled the clip effective the previous day, but it did not release a public comment.
The song, backed by a new video that went online last week, says that the chaos you see in big cities wouldn’t happen in rural America.
According to Vulture, the video features news footage projected on the Maury County courthouse, where a lynching took place in the 1920s.
The video also includes images of riots and police-protester clashes.
“Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own … I recommend you don’t / Try that in a small town,” the song states.
There were other charges of love for “sundown towns,” where blacks dared not enter after the sun set during the Jim Crow “lynch law” era.
“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it — and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage,” Mr. Aldean said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“While I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far,” he said.
Mr. Aldean said in the statement that the song “for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences.”
On one political issue, “Try That in a Small Town” is hardly ambiguous — gun control.
“Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they gonna round up / Well that sh— might fly in the city; good luck,” Mr. Aldean sings.