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Jason Aldean connected his controversial song “Try That in a Small Town” to the Boston Marathon bombing during his concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Mass., on Saturday (July 29).
Before performing the song at his Highway Desperado Tour stop near Beantown, Country, 46, thanked fans for their support following the backlash surrounding the track and its accompanying music video, and related the song to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured hundreds.
“I was lying in bed last night thinking to myself, you guys are going to be better than anyone, aren’t you?” Aldean began. “Because I remember a time, I think it was April 2013, when the Boston Marathon bombing happened. You remember that, right? What I saw when that happened was that not a small town—a big city— come together. The whole country, especially Boston, came together to find these two pr– who did it. Any of you that would have found those guys before the police did, I know you from Boston, and you would have beaten them – out of (them).
In mid-July, the singer responded to claims that “Try That in a Small Town” is a “modern-day lynching song”. The track challenges those who “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store” or “send out a cop” to, as the title suggests, try these actions in a small town and “see how far you can go down the road.” The song’s music video features footage of an American flag burning, protesters confronting police, looters smashing a display case, and thieves robbing a convenience store.
Last week, the “Try That in a Small Town” video was apparently edited to remove footage of a Black Lives Matter protest after the clip received backlash. The video is now six seconds shorter than when it was originally shared on July 14, according to Washington Post. A clip from Fox 5 Atlanta depicting violent interactions during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020 is no longer available.
During Saturday’s show, Aldean reiterated that the song “isn’t about race. It’s about people coming together, doing the right thing. You’re hearing from the person who made the record. Everybody’s trying to tell you what I meant. They don’t know , what I meant.”
“We are a country, the greatest in the world. I know you are like me. You want to be able to send your children to school and not have to worry about something happening while they are at school ,” he added. “To me, it’s not a racial issue. I do not state as — what color you have. If you go on a rampage, burn buildings down, cost the taxpayers all this money, just for you to go and show that you’re mad, to me, I just don’t get it. We’re just never going to see eye-to-eye on that s—.”
CMT pulled the video from its rotation after running it for three days, while Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, came to his defense. Music stars such as Sheryl Crow and Margo Price have spoken out against his choice to perform and release the song.
Sales and streaming increases catapulted “Try That in a Small Town” to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, dated July 29. The song, released in May, scored the biggest sales week for a country song in more than 10 years, according to Luminate.
Aldean concluded his speech at Mansfield’s Xfinity Center by sharing his appreciation to fans for their continued support.
“You saw what was trying to happen here the last few weeks. A lot of people wanted nothing more than for this song to be something it wasn’t, wanted you to turn on me and think I was something, I wasn’t,” he said. “It makes me very proud, the fact that all of you can see that and go, ‘Nuh-uh, not this time.’ You guys took this song and the video and you’ve turned this thing into one of the biggest things I’ve ever had in my career. Thank you for hearing the song, watching the video, watching it with an open mind and seeing what it was about.”
Watch Aldean connect “Try That in a Small Town” to the Boston Marathon bombing in a video on X (formerly Twitter) here.