Sorry, Jason Aldean, but it seems Sheryl Crow understands how to read context.
The “All I Wanna Do” Grammy-winner spoke out against the country singer’s controversial new track, “Try That In A Small Town” — a threatening little ditty that promises protesters and outsiders that they won’t make it “far down the road” if they don’t adhere to his politically charged ideals of small-town life.
“@Jason_Aldean I’m from a small town. Even people in small towns are sick of violence,” Crow tweeted at the musician on Tuesday. “There’s nothing small-town or American about promoting violence.”
“Try That In A Small Town” came out in May but gained more attention when its accompanying music video was released on Friday. The video includes shots of Aldean performing on the steps of a Tennessee courthouse that was the site of a historic lynching, interspersed with news footage of violent protests.
The video was pulled from CMT on Monday due to its troubling imagery, Variety confirmed. (It could still be found on YouTube, however.)
The video is paired with lyrics warning demonstrators that if they “cross that line” and “cuss out a cop, spit in his face” or “stomp on the flag and light it up,” it “won’t take long” for the “good ol’ boys” of a small town to retaliate. Aldean also makes it clear in one line in his song that he “got a gun that my granddad gave me.”
Aldean downplayed the confrontational tone of “Try That In This Small Town” on social media Tuesday. He denied that he had released “a pro-lynching song” despite where the video was filmed, and insisted there “is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it.” He also seemed to brush off accusations that his video implied that he was “not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests.”
“These references are not only meritless, but dangerous,” Aldean wrote. “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 -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far.”
Aldean also dismissed concerns that the song promotes violence by noting that he was at the Route 91 Harvest music festival mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.
“As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91-where so many lost their lives- and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy,” he explained. “NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart.”
But his reasoning didn’t fly with Crow, who implied that the country crooner is the last person who should advocate any kind of violence, considering his lived experience.
“You should know that better than anyone having survived a mass shooting,” Crow said in her tweet to Aldean on Tuesday. “This is not American or small town-like. It’s just lame.”