Report: Jason Aldean ‘Did Not Pick the Location’ for His Controversial ‘Try That in a Small Town’ Video
Jason Aldean has stirred major controversy with his new video for "Try That in a Small Town," but the production company behind the clip says people are reading too much into the choice of locations for the shoot.
"Try That in a Small Town" relies on a collection of tropes about small-town America for its central theme, which many critics have decried as promoting vigilante gun violence.
"Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they're gonna round up / Well, that sh-t might fly in the city, good luck / Try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / You cross that line, it won't take long for you to find out / I recommend you don't / Try that in a small town," Aldean sings.
CMT pulled the new video for the song out of rotation after its first weekend after it drew heavy criticism, especially in light of its location. The clip features footage of crowds of protestors inflicting damage to protest police brutality during the pandemic, and a large portion of the video takes place in front of the Maury County Courthouse in the rural Nashville suburb of Columbia, Tenn., where a mob hung the body of an 18-year-old Black man named Henry Choate after lynching him in 1927.
"The most dangerous part of the video — the part that may wipe the smirk off your face if you’re just focused on how clumsy the song is — is how it conflates the act of protesting with violent crime," Variety states. "Leading a march and getting in a policeman’s face is on the same level as rioting, or carjacking grandma."
Prominent Nashville-based director Shaun Silva directed Aldean's "Try That in a Small Town" video, and in a statement to Entertainment Tonight, the production company, Tacklebox, says the location is a "popular filming location outside of Nashville."
The statement cites a recent Lifetime Original movie titled Steppin' Into the Holiday that starred Mario Lopez and Jana Kramer as another production that used the same location, as well as Runaway June's "We Were Rich" video, a Paramount Network film titled A Nashville Country Christmas with Tanya Tucker and the Hannah Montana film.
"Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false," the company states. Tacklebox also says Aldean "did not pick the location."
Aldean responded to the outcry about the song and video in a statement via social media: