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Jason Aldean Performs at the CMT Awards After Song Controversy

By Michael Apr 8, 2024
Jason Aldean Hubert Vestil/Getty Images

Jason Aldean marked his return to the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 7, nearly one year after his headline-making song controversy.

The singer, 47, performed “Let Your Boys Be Country” during the ceremony, which was held at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The song was nominated for Video of the Year but did not make it past the first round of voting when the six finalists were announced earlier this month.

Aldean donned a white cowboy hat and brown buttoned-up shirt with jeans while he sang the track on stage. Mid-performance he yelled, “Where my boys at tonight, c’mon!” which received cheers from the audience.

Aldean previously faced backlash in July 2023 for the lyrics of his song “Try That in a Small Town.”

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“Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you’re tough,” he sang. “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.”

He added: “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.”

Jason Aldean Catherine Powell/Getty Images for CMT

The song’s music video caused further controversy as it was filmed in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in 1927, though Aldean claimed he was unaware of the location’s history. The video was ultimately removed from CMT as a result of the scandal.

Aldean defended the song at the time. “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,” he wrote via X. “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.”

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He also shot down criticism of the pro-gun lyrics after listeners pointed out that he witnessed a mass shooting at his 2017 Las Vegas concert. “NO ONE, including me, wants to continue to see senseless headlines or families ripped apart,” he continued, explaining that the song “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.”

Three months later, Aldean doubled down on his stance, insisting that he did not regret releasing the track.

“I don’t feel bad about [it] because I know my intentions behind, you know, shooting the video there and recording the song and everything,” he told CBS News in November 2023. “I would do it over again, every time … minus the setting, knowing what I know now, obviously, you know, knowing that that was gonna be a thing, you know, maybe you look at doing it somewhere else.”

Aldean added that he knew “what the intentions were behind the location, the video, the song, all of it” and he could still confidently “stand by all that.”

By Michael

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