Country star Jason Aldean has thanked his fans for their support as he faced cancel culture and came out on top. Downloads of his controversial hit “Try That in a Small Town” exploded by 999% since the outcry erupted in mid-July. Luminate, which tracks sales and streams, said the song’s download figure went from 987,000 to 11.7 million in just one week.
“Try That in a Small Town” was denounced as racist as soon as the video was published. It features Mr. Aldean and his band performing outside a courthouse in Tennessee, which historically, is the scene of both a lynching and a race riot. The video also contains images of police clashing with rioters and other criminals, including Black Lives Matter.
Critics similarly condemn the single’s lyrics, with some saying it encourages vigilantism and violence. The song warns criminals not to try law-breaking in a small town because “round here we look after our own.”
Several politicians have weighed into the row, and unsurprisingly, opinion is divided largely along party lines. In Tennessee, Democrat Justin Jones, who was expelled from the state legislature earlier this year for joining an anti-gun rights protest on the House floor, said the song was a shameful vision of vigilantism and extremism. “As Tennessee lawmakers, we have an obligation to condemn Jason Aldean’s heinous song calling for racist violence,” Jones tweeted.
Mr. Aldean is supported, however, at the highest levels of the GOP. Donald Trump, former President and frontrunner for the Republican 2024 Presidential nomination, called Aldean “a fantastic guy” and asked Americans to support him. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis joined in and said if the press is attacking him, Mr. Aldean must be doing something right.
The singer also received the vocal support of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Floridian Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. Haley and Ramaswamy both played the song at recent campaign events.