Sheryl Crow has taken a stand against Jason Aldean’s controversial country track, “Try That In A Small Town,” criticizing its violent and threatening nature.
The Grammy-winning artist voiced her concerns about the song, which conveys politically charged ideals of small-town life, warning protesters and outsiders that they won’t make it “far down the road” if they do not conform to those ideals.
Addressing Aldean directly on Twitter, Crow, who hails from a small town herself, expressed that even small-town residents are tired of violence, and there’s nothing truly representative of small-town America in promoting such aggression.
.@Jason_Aldean I’m from a small town. Even people in small towns are sick of violence.There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence. You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting.
This is not American or small town-like. It’s just lame https://t.co/cuOtUO9xjr
— Sheryl Crow (@SherylCrow) July 19, 2023
The song initially gained attention when its music video was released in May, featuring Aldean performing on the steps of a Tennessee courthouse known for a historic lynching, along with footage of violent protests. Consequently, CMT decided to pull the video due to its troubling imagery, but it remained accessible on YouTube.
The song’s lyrics depict a confrontational stance, warning demonstrators that crossing certain lines will lead to retaliation from the “good ol’ boys” in a small town. Aldean also mentions having a gun passed down from his granddad. Despite the controversial content and imagery, Aldean downplayed the song’s tone on social media, denying that it promoted lynching or any racist sentiments. He argued that the lyrics made no references to race and that the video consisted solely of real news footage. However, some viewers found his response unsatisfactory and felt that the song and video still crossed boundaries.
In an attempt to justify his song further, Aldean mentioned his presence at the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, where many lost their lives. He expressed his aversion to senseless violence and its devastating impact on families. Nevertheless, Sheryl Crow countered Aldean’s reasoning, reminding him that he, of all people, should understand the devastating effects of violence, considering his firsthand experience with surviving a mass shooting.
Crow stressed that promoting violence in any form, especially given Aldean’s personal history, was not reflective of American values or the essence of small-town living. Her response resonated with many, highlighting the need for responsible messaging and sensitive content in music and media, particularly in light of real-life tragedies. The debate surrounding the song “Try That In A Small Town” continues, as artists and listeners weigh in on its implications and whether it crosses the line into potentially harmful territory.