Three-time ACM entertainer of the year winner and Macon, Georgia native Jason Aldean‘s 11th studio album, Highway Desperado, is here.
Aldean is a co-writer on three of the album’s 14 songs, including the title track “Highway Desperado,” as well as “Hungover in a Hotel” and “Breakup Breakdown.”
Aldean has previously released a handful of songs previewing the album, including “Let Your Boys Be Country,” “Tough Crowd,” and his controversial “Try That in a Small Town,” which earned both praise and intense criticism after the song’s accompanying music video was released in July. The clip features scenes filmed at Tennessee’s Maury County Courthouse, where a Black man named Henry Choate was lynched in 1927. The Columbia Race Riot also occurred there in 1946.
In a recent interview with CBS, Aldean said that he might have rethought the filming location if he had been aware of the location’s history. “Knowing what I know now, probably not,” he said of whether or not he would choose to film there now. “But it’s also — 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 racial issue over the years at some point. That’s just a fact. For anybody that thinks that we picked that building specifically for that reason, because there was a lynching there, whatever.”
Aldean noted that the courthouse location is where he gets his vehicle registration renewed each year and that it is in the county he lives in.
“There was people of all color doing stuff in the video,” he said during the CBS interview. “That’s what I don’t understand. There was white people in there, there was Black people. This video did not shine the light on specific group and say, ‘That’s the problem.’ And anybody that saw that in the video, then you weren’t looking hard enough at the video. I thought it was actually a song that said something for a change. Not just, ‘Here’s another song for radio.’ I didn’t expect it to get the kind of heat that it got. And I think that was probably more because of the video more so than because of the song.”
He concluded, “The whole idea behind the video was to show the lawlessness and the disrespect for cops and just trashing cities. … I’m just not cool with that. I feel like the narrative got switched over and became more of a racial type thing. If that’s what you got out of the song and the video, that’s almost on you, because that wasn’t our intention.”
Since his breakthrough 2005 top 10 Billboard Country Airplay hit “Hicktown,” Aldean has amassed 25 No. 1 Country Airplay hits, and seven of his albums have reached the top spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.
Highway Desperado‘s title is a nod to the years Aldean has spent on the road.
“I think when I look back on it, I built my career early on my live show, and have been on the road touring since I was 18 years old,” Aldean said in a statement. “For us, touring is our favorite part. Getting on the bus and going town to town and playing our shows and doing our thing and seeing the fans… the title for the tour and album was really inspired from that.”
Stream Highway Desperado below.
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