Carroll Report Maryland Muckraker

Muckraker: ‘Media bullshit’: Jason Aldean thanks sold-out Merriweather crowd for seeing through it

This article brought to you by Maryland Muckraker.

Right before singing “Try That In A Small Town” at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia on Thursday night, Jason Aldean thanked the sold-out crowd for “seeing through a lot of the media bullshit” surrounding what became the #1 country song in America after the establishment press collectively maligned the tune about small town values as being racist. Watch:

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Aldean sings where slaves once were

On Wednesday, the day before the concert was attended by 19,000 people, The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board encouraged readers to “speak out” and “protest” the event. They quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying “The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict” before lamenting how Aldean would play at Merriweather, once the site of a plantation with slaves:

“That’s right: The amphitheater on the grounds of an estate that was once home to the Oakland Manor plantation, where Black people were enslaved, is set to host Jason Aldean…”

Song lyrics like January 6th rhetoric

Then on Thursday, the day of the concert, Baltimore Fishbowl reported that Columbia residents condemned the concert, though no physical protests were expected. They spoke with Byron Macfarlane, register of wills for Howard County, who said locals have safety concerns because Aldean is a fear-mongering peddler of racism, whose lyrics are comparable to the rhetoric that led to January 6th, a day people died.

“People have a genuine concern for their safety,” Macfarlane said. “Jason Aldean is not an artist. He is a fearmonger who spews dangerous rhetoric. Look back at January 6. People died.” Macfarlane continued, saying Aldean “peddles racism and vigilante justice. He serves up fear and anxiety at a time when political discourse is at a boiling point.” 

Baltimore Fishbowl also quoted Howard County blogger Julia McCready, who said she had a “visceral revulsion” to Aldean’s brand of “anti-black violence” being “lapped up” in Columbia. She expressed disappointment that local residents were not physically protesting the event, as she reflected on the “powerful showing” the city made in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

During the concert, The Baltimore Banner published an article opening with the quip: “Merriweather Post Pavilion isn’t in a small town, but Jason Aldean tried it anyway”, before citing Howard County Progress Report, a blogger bringing “social justice and snark to Howard County”, who said in a tweet that Aldean’s song has no place in Columbia, a planned community regarded as a model for racial and socioeconomic integration.

93.1 WPOC suppressing #1 country song

All this came as 93.1 WPOC, Baltimore’s biggest country music station and it’s second rated radio station overall, measurably suppressed Aldean’s billboard topping track, playing it just 4 times during the same period last week it played Luke Combs’s “Fast Car” 40 times. Of the 4 times “Try That In A Small Town” was played, 3 were in the middle of the night, happening at 12:44am, 1:19am, and 1:53am, per a log of recently played songs on the local iHeartRadio affiliate’s website.

Number of top song plays from midmorning Tuesday July 18th to midmorning Tuesday July 25th on 93.1 WPOC

(More details: Baltimore’s biggest country music station suppressing Jason Aldean’s “Try That In A Small Town”: Data)


But despite the calls for protest and the airwave suppression, Aldean succeeded in selling out the venue in progressive Columbia, attracting fans from all over Maryland and West Virginia too. As he was playing “Try That In A Small Town”, he wrapped himself in an American flag handed to him by one fan, drawing a roar from the crowd. As the song came to a close, the audience broke out into chants: “USA! USA! USA”. Watch:

One 61 year old Bel Air woman in attendance said it was the first concert she had been to in almost 40 years, the last one being a Prince concert back in the 1980s. She bought tickets to Aldean’s show and purchased his hit song on iTunes to demonstrate her support for the conservative musician after seeing the liberal press disparage him and the values his creative work represents.

On Sunday July 30th, Aldean played in Hartford Connecticut where he was met by protestors organizing under the tagline: “Small Towns Against Hate”.

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