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Jason Aldean Relates ‘Try That in a Small Town’ to Boston Marathon Bombing at MA Concert

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).

Prior to performing the song at his Highway Desperado Tour stop near Beantown, the 46-year-old country thanked fans for their support following the backlash surrounding the track and its corresponding music video, and related the song to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds.

“I was laying in bed last night and thinking to myself, you guys would get this better than anybody, right?” Aldean began. “Because I remember a time, I think it was April of 2013, when the Boston Marathon bombings happened. You guys remember this, right? What I saw when that happened was, not a small town — a big a– town — come together. The whole country, especially Boston, came together to find these two pr—- that did that. Any of you guys that would’ve found those guys before the cops did, I know you guys from Boston, and you guys would’ve beat the s— out of [them].”

In mid-July, the singer responded to claims that “Try That in a Small Town” is a “modern lynching song.” The track challenges those who “pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store” or “cuss out a cop” to, as the title suggests, try those actions in a small town and “see how far ya make it down the road.” The song’s music video features footage of an American flag burning, protesters having confrontations with police, looters breaking a display case, and thieves robbing a convenience store.

Last week, the “Try That in a Small Town” video was seemingly edited to remove imagery 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 The Washington Post. There is no longer a clip from Fox 5 Atlanta depicting violent interactions during Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020.

During Saturday’s show, Aldean reiterated that the song is “not about race. It’s about people getting their s— together, acting right. You’re hearing from the person that made the record. Everybody is trying to tell you what I meant. They don’t know what I meant.”

“We are a country, the greatest one in the world. I know you guys are like me. You want to be able to send your kids to school and not have to worry about something happening while they’re at school,” he added. “To me, that’s not a racial issue. I don’t give a s— what color you are. If you’re acting out, burning down buildings, costing taxpayers all this money, just for you to go and show that you’re pissed off, to me I just don’t get that. We’re just never going to see eye to eye about 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 like Sheryl Crow and Margo Price have spoken out against his choice to perform and release the song.

Sales and streaming surges 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 ended his speech at Mansfield’s Xfinity Center by sharing his appreciation to fans for their continued support.

“You guys saw what was trying to happen here the last couple of weeks. A lot of people wanted nothing more than for this song to be something that it wasn’t, wanted you guys to turn on me and think that I was something that I wasn’t,” he said. “It makes me very proud, the fact that all you guys can see that and go, ‘Nuh-uh, not this time.’ You guys took this song and the video and you guys have made this thing one of the biggest things I’ve ever had in my career. Thank you guys for hearing the song, seeing the video, watching it with an open mind, seeing what it was about.”

Watch Aldean connect “Try That in a Small Town” to the Boston Marathon bombing on a video on X (formerly Twitter) here.

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