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Sheryl Crow forcefully responds to controversy around Jason Aldean’s song ‘Try That in a Small Town’

Crow, who said she is from a small town, went on the offensive, saying Aldean is “promoting violence” with a song that is “not American.”
By Drew Weisholtz
Sheryl Crow has some harsh words for Jason Aldean and his controversial new song, “Try That In a Small Town.”

Critics say the song promotes violence with its lyrics about guns (“Got a gun that my grandad gave me / They say one day they’re going to round up”) and outright threats (“Try that in a small town / See how far you make it down the road / Around here we take care of our own”).

“@Jason_Aldean I’m from a small town,” Crow tweeted July 18. “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.”

Crow was born in Kennett, Missouri, which has a population of just over 10,000. Aldean is from Macon, Georgia, a city in central Georgia which has a population of 153,000.

As Crow references, Aldean was onstage when 59 people died and hundreds more were injured in a mass shooting at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017.

On July 18, Aldean tweeted in response to the controversy, saying that he had been “accused of releasing a pro-lynching song.” Aldean wrote that he did not intend for the song to promote gun violence.

“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. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart,” he wrote.

“‘Try That In A Small Town,’ 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,” he continued.

“Try That In a Small Town” was not written by Aldean. That credit goes to Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Kelley Lovelace and Neil Thrasher.

When the song was first released in May, Aldean in a statement, “To me, this song summarizes the way a lot of people feel about the world right now. It seems like there are bad things happening on a daily basis, and that feels unfamiliar to a lot of us. This song sheds some light on that.”

The song’s lyrics reference spitting on police (“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face”), defacing an American flag (“stomp on the flag and light it up”) and pulling a gun in a liquor store, with some people suggesting it alludes to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The video for the song, which has been removed by CMT, features footage of protests and robberies projected onto a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where 18-year-old Black man Henry Choate was lynched in 1927.

In his Twitter statement, Aldean said suggestions that his song is racist are off base.

“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.”

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