Greenwood said those who are trying to cancel Aldean are trying to take away his freedom of expression
Country music legend Lee Greenwood, best known for his inspiring song “God Bless the USA,” came to the defense of singer Jason Aldean on Thursday during ongoing liberal backlash over his “Try That In A Small Town” music video.
“I am a Jason Aldean fan. He is the biggest patriot, like a lot of us. This has nothing to do with racism,” Greenwood said on “Jesse Watters Primetime.” “This is about people trying to take away the freedom of expression. It is a great song, and I wish I had it… I love Jason’s approach. He is a great artist and always does the right thing.”
Aldean recently released a video for the anti-crime, pro-gun song that included actual news clips of riots and looting in 2020. The song’s messaging asserts that small towns wouldn’t tolerate the kind of riots and lawlessness many cities across the country faced during the summer of 2020.
Jason Aldean and his wife Brittany Aldean attend the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, on May 11, 2023. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
After activists claimed it was “racist and violent” for Aldean to suggest lawlessness would not be tolerated in a small town and accused the country singer of releasing a “pro-lynching song,” CMT pulled the music video from circulation.
“I am from a small town in California and people cannot take our freedom away because people know everybody in a small town and that is what the heart of America is. It’s rural America,” he said.
With lyrics warning violent criminals, as well as those who disrespect law enforcement and the American flag, to “try that in a small town,” Aldean sings, “Yeah, ya think you’re tough? Well, try that in a small town, 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.”
The song’s tough stance on crime and pro-Second Amendment messaging caused a public outcry among liberals online, but Greenwood said he is “grateful” for Aldean’s portrayal of the Second Amendment in the song.
“When you talk about guns and having them in your home for defense, it is not about an offensive weapon, it’s about hunting, it’s about having the right to have the gun and the people on the other side of that, it is the idiots that take to the street and kill other people,” he told Fox News host Jesse Watters. “And we are sympathetic of the people who die. Our heart goes out to those people who have been killed by guns, but it is the people who kill with the gun, not the gun itself. I am so sorry they put the Second Amendment first when they see a tragedy like that. I am grateful for Jason Aldean and what he is about to do.”
Jason Aldean performs at the 2022 CMT Music Awards at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 11, 2022. (Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT)
Variety claimed that the singer was behind the most vile song of this decade, writing, “Jason Aldean Already Had the Most Contemptible Country Song of the Decade. The Video Is Worse.”
Lee Greenwood performs onstage during pre-race ceremonies prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, on May 29, 2022. (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CNN called Aldean’s song “controversial” in another headline on Wednesday, a day before the hosts of “The View” said they found the song’s message “deplorable” on-air.
Despite the backlash, Aldean’s hit reached No. 1 on iTunes on Wednesday.
Greenwood said the public shouldn’t allow political or cultural wars to misrepresent the country star’s lyrics and intended message.
“Let’s not get entangled about what the song says. Because it doesn’t say anything except for the fact that we take care of each other in a small town. That’s all,” he asserted.
Aldean pushed back on claims that the song has racial undertones or was in any intended to be racist in messages posted to Instagram and Twitter.
“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 wrote. “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,” Aldean shared with his nearly 8 million fans across social media.