On July 19, Isbell took to Twitter to deliver a pointed challenge to Aldean. He dared Aldean to write his next single personally, emphasizing that such an approach is the norm in his small town.
A noteworthy detail in the Spotify credits for “Try That In A Small Town” caught Isbell’s attention: the song’s writers were listed as Kelley Lovelace, Kurt Allison, Neil Thrasher, and Tully Kennedy, but Aldean’s name was conspicuously absent.
Country singer Jake Owen couldn’t resist chiming in, criticizing Isbell for his vocal Twitter stance. Owen claimed that in his small town, one would confront someone face-to-face instead of resorting to online ranting.
He challenged Isbell’s toughness, urging him to be a man in real-life interactions.
Isbell, however, responded to Owen with a screenshot showing Aldean’s Twitter account as suspended. He retorted, humorously stating that he tried to tag Aldean but couldn’t due to the suspension. Isbell maintained that he was merely a songwriter, not seeking confrontations.
Dare Aldean to write his next single himself. That’s what we try in my small town
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) July 19, 2023
Upon realizing that the account shown in the screenshot wasn’t Aldean’s, Isbell corrected himself and reissued the challenge to the correct account. He directly addressed Aldean, urging him to write a song entirely on his own, without any outside influences. Encouraging Aldean to create genuine art as a recording artist, Isbell expressed genuine interest in hearing the result.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) July 20, 2023
Furthermore, Isbell raised an important question about Aldean’s role in defending the content of a song he wasn’t directly involved in crafting. He pointed out that producers often play a significant role in shaping songs, and the lack of Aldean’s presence during the songwriting process left him in a vulnerable position regarding content accountability.
The back-and-forth exchange between Isbell, Aldean, and Owen created a buzz on social media, with fans and critics closely observing the artists’ reactions.
As the music industry grappled with the complexities of creative ownership and artistic responsibility, this debate shed light on the collaborative nature of songwriting and the challenges artists face in navigating public scrutiny.