Travis Tritt Weighs in on Jason Aldean Song + Video Backlash: ‘Say What You Want to Say’
Travis Tritt turned to social media to weigh in on the controversy surrounding Jason Aldean's new song and video for "Try That in a Small Town." The veteran country star shared his support for Aldean, encouraging him to "say what you want to say and be who you want to be."
"Try That in a Small Town" calls up tropes about small-town America for its lyrical theme, which many critics and online users 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 video for the song out of rotation after its first weekend after extensive criticism, especially in light of its location. The clip features footage of crowds protesting police brutality during the pandemic, including burning American flags and property damage. The video intersperses that footage with shots of Aldean in front of the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tenn., a rural Nashville suburb where a mob hung the body of an 18-year-old Black man named Henry Choate after lynching and killing him in 1927. Critics have accused Aldean of promoting racism and violence for the clip, which he has denied.
"For the record, I love the new @Jason_Aldean single, “Try That In A Small Town," Tritt writes on Twitter. "IMO, this song isn’t promoting violence as some have suggested. It is simply expressing a point of view that many American people share which is against the obvious violence that we have seen from the likes of so many 'activists groups' in this country in recent years and the belief shared by millions that this behavior would not be tolerated by many people in many places across the USA."
"I would also like to remind my friend, @Jason_Aldean that Twitter and social media in general is not a real place," Tritt adds. "The views shared by many accounts on this platform are not actually representative of the vast majority of the population of this country. Say what you want to say and be who you want to be. Damn the social media torpedoes."
In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, the production company behind the clip, Tacklebox, says the location is a "popular filming location outside of Nashville," citing Runaway June's "We Were Rich" video, as well as a recent Lifetime Original movie and more, as other projects that shot in the area.
"Any alternative narrative suggesting the music video’s location decision is false," the company states, adding that Aldean did not pick the location for the video.
Aldean responded to the controversy over the song and video in a statement via social media:
Chaz Molder is the mayor of Columbia, Tenn., where Aldean once lived with his family. He takes issue with the singer's depiction of small-town values.
“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,” Mayor Molder says in a statement obtained by Fox 17 in Nashville.
"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."