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Jason Aldean speaks out over controversy around his song 'Try That in a Small Town'

The country singer says people have accused him of “releasing a pro-lynching song.”
/ Source: TODAY

Jason Aldean is speaking out over the backlash for his latest song, “Try That in a Small Town.”

The country singer released a statement on his social media platforms July 18 after, he says, he was “accused of releasing a pro-lynching song.” Some critics have also said the song is anti-Black Lives Matter and pro-gun.

“Try That in a Small Town” was released in May and mentions protests, violence and upheaval in cities while saying that those actions would not pass in small towns.

“Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk/Carjack an old lady at a red light/Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store/Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like/Cuss out a cop, spit in his face/Stomp on the flag and light it up/Yeah, ya think you’re tough/Well, try that in a small town,” the songs begins.

“See how far ya make it down the road/Around here, we take care of our own/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.”

The music video for the song, which was released July 14, stirred additional controversy as it shows news footage from protests and surveillance video of break-ins and robberies projected on a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee. The location is known for being the site of the 1927 lynching of Henry Choate, an 18-year-old African American, per John Roy Steelman’s book “A Study of Mob Action in the South.”

Reactions to Aldean’s song and music video have been split. One person described it as a song about “murdering people who don’t respect police” and others believed it was anti-Black Lives Matter with a hurtful message.

Many fans, however, are sharing how they relate to the song and its message about growing up in a tight-knit small town.

It should be noted that Aldean did not write “Try That in a Small Town.” Credited as the song’s writers are Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, Kelley Lovelace and Neil Thrasher, per a press release.

In Monday's statement, Aldean said:

“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests.

"These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it — and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage — and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music — this one goes too far."

He then touched on being at the October 2017 music festival in Las Vegas where a gunman shot and killed 58 people and injured nearly a thousand others and how he never wants anyone to suffer a tragedy like that.

"As so many pointed out, I was present at Route 91 — where so many lost their lives — and our community recently suffered another heartbreaking tragedy. NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart," he said, before explaining what his song means to him.

"'Try That In A Small Town,' for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief. Because they were our neighbors, and that was above any differences," he continued.

Aldean concluded by saying that his political views have never been something he's hidden from “and I know that a lot of us in this Country don’t agree on how we get back to a sense of normalcy where we go at least a day without a headline that keeps us up at night. But the desire for it to — that’s what this song is about.”

The singer, meanwhile, received support from his wife, Brittany Aldean, who shared a photo of the two on her Instagram.

She captioned the post, “Never apologize for speaking the truth.”

Amid the backlash, a spokesperson for CMT confirms to NBC News that the singer’s music video for the song has been removed from airing on the network.

NBC News has reached out to representatives for BBR Music Group, the record label group where Alden is signed.