Tim McGraw hasn't heard Jason Aldean's controversial "Try That in a Small Town," nor has he seen the song's music video.

So when asked about the topic of small towns and racism in a new interview with Zane Lowe and Apple Music 1, McGraw was careful to clarify that he couldn't comment on that song specifically — but as someone who grew up in a small town in Louisiana, he could offer insight into his own experience of what it was like to be a part of a small, Southern community.

"I probably grew up in the smallest town you can imagine. We had a caution light and a cotton gin and maybe 200 people lived around there," the singer explains.

McGraw didn't feel like that community was racist. On the contrary, it was "very inclusive, very open, very nurturing," he describes.

"I didn't grow up around people being racist. I didn't grow up around people being mean to people," he continues. "If there was any hint of that, my coach who was my mentor growing up, my coach would knock that down in a heartbeat. He would slap the s--t out of you if he heard you say anything racist."

Over the years, McGraw hasn't been afraid to speak his mind on political issues that he feels passionate about: For example, though he supports responsible gun ownership, he and his wife Faith Hill are advocates for common sense gun control laws.

"I'm a human being first and foremost, before I'm an entertainer," says McGraw, reflecting on some listeners' beliefs that he and other artists should keep their political opinions to themselves. "I have kids that I want to see raised in a world that I want my kids to be raised in. And so, you're going to lose either way sometimes, but you've got to feel good about yourself and good about who you are and what you stand for."

All that said, McGraw stresses that he can't speak specifically to Aldean's single, and he thinks it's important not to venture a guess at the meaning behind another artist's song.

"I can't intelligently speak to somebody else's music ... especially when I haven't heard it," he relates. "But I can speak to what I know, and then I'll let the time of music I record and the types of messages that I try to put out speak for themselves."

McGraw's next album, Standing Room Only, arrives on Friday (Aug. 25).

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