Country singer Jason Aldean has a song out titled "Try That In A Small Town". The title doesn't include "(After Dark)" at the end but it contains other references to lynching, including lyrics reminiscing about "good ol' boys" grabbing their guns and killing interlopers. It sailed under the radar until he released a music video that made the song's meaning too blatant to ignore, posing footage from protests and riots against Aldean performing at the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, the site of an infamous lynching.
"Got a gun that my granddad gave me. They say one day they're gonna round up. Well, that s–t might fly in the city, good luck," Aldean sings. "Try that in a small town. See how far you 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."
He hoped it would be plausibly deniable, but had to make all the references to black protestors, rioters and looters explicit enough for his audience to understand what he was getting at. Quite a dilemma! But there's a silver lining to this outcome: now he gets to complain about being censored by the Country Music Channel.
Aldean, who was on stage when the worst gun massacre in U.S. history took place at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, 2017, sings, "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."
The assumption is always that guys like this are "provocateurs," stirring and trolling for fame and fortune. But Aldean watched all those people shot dead in front of his eyes and then he wrote this song fantasizing about gun violence. Its not a provocation, it's a promise, and it's time to think hard about your prospects when Jason Aldean's community-building dreams fire up for real.
Here's Sheryl Crow on Aldean's lynching song: "It's just lame."
P.S. Small towns are already where the violent crime is.