Columbia, Tennessee Mayor Refutes Jason Aldean’s Description of Small Towns
The mayor of Columbia, Tenn., is hoping the next time someone chooses his historic downtown as the backdrop for a music video, it’s to promote peace and love.
Portions of Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” video were shot in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, where Aldean and his family used to live.
The singer says “Try That in a Small Town” refers to a kind of community he grew up around in Georgia, “where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of backgrounds or belief.”
Mayor Chaz Molder describes the community of Columbia very differently.
“Maybe Eric (Church) or Luke (Bryan or Combs) or Carrie (Underwood) or Dolly (Parton) will be next to record a video in our small town; and they can highlight peace, love and all the things that are great about Columbia, Tennessee,” he says in a statement obtained by Fox 17 in Nashville.
- The Maury County Courthouse is where a mob hung the body of a young Black man named Henry Choate after lynching him in 1927.
- It's a frequent backdrop for television, movie and music video shoots, including "We Were Rich" by Runaway June.
- Aldean's "Try That in a Small Town" has been described as pro-gun violence and racist in the way it draws familiar lines between people who live in rural and urban areas.
- Aldean and his supporters counter that no lyrics in the song refer to race and all video clips used in the music video are real news footage.
“While I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music — this one goes too far,” the star wrote in response to criticism.
Mayor Molder echoes a respect of one's First Amendment right.
"I respect the artist’s freedom of his own lyrics and the fans who support him, but I’m hopeful that the next music video that uses our historic downtown as a backdrop will seek a more positive message," he shares.
The divisive song has surged on the iTunes sales chart since the controversy began, but its music video has been dropped by CMT. The singer's June performance of the song at CMA Fest is scheduled to be a part of Wednesday night's ABC broadcast. It's from a future album.
Coincidentally, Aldean and his wife Brittany lived in Columbia from 2016 to 2019. The Williamson Source shares they sold it for $7.87 million.