Jason Aldean says that he wasn't aware of the tumultuous history of the Maury County Courthouse, the location that serves as backdrop for many scenes in his controversial "Try That in a Small Town" music video.

In a Wednesday (Nov. 1) appearance on CBS Mornings, Aldean spoke to the heated, and starkly divided, response he saw to "Try That in a Small Town," his single released in spring 2023.

While some praised "Small Town" as a loud-and-proud salute to small town values, others criticized the song for racist dog-whistling and glorification of gun-based vigilante justice. Especially fierce was the response to the video, which CMT pulled from rotation after many saw its scenes of violent protesting as a direct threat to Black viewers.

The Maury County Courthouse's prominence was a point of contention, too. In 1927, a Black teen named Henry Choate was hung in front of this courthouse after being lynched to death by a white mob who accused him of assaulting a white girl.

In his latest interview, Aldean says that if he'd known about the lynching, he would likely have decided not to film his video there.

"Knowing what I know now, probably not," he says, but adds that the courthouse is far from the only Southern monument with racist history tied to it.

"Again, I'm not gonna go back 100 years and check on the history of this building, because honestly, if you're in the South, you could probably go to any small-town courthouse — you're gonna be hard-pressed to find one that hasn't had some sort of racial issue over the years at some point. I mean, that's just a fact."

Aldean also points out that although he wasn't aware of the lynching that took place at the site, he does have have personal ties to the courthouse. It's located in Columbia, Tenn., close to where he lives.

"It's also the place that I go get my car tags every year. It's my county that I live in," the singer explains.

"Try That in a Small Town" recently topped the Country Aircheck/Mediabase country chart.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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