Jason Aldean Takes to ‘Highway Desperado’ in New Album

Jason Aldean has his sights set on a new album. On November 3, Aldean will release Highway Desperado, a 14-track album that includes the controversial single, “Try That in a Small Town.”

Videos by American Songwriter

Aldean co-wrote three of the 14 songs, his name appearing in the credits for “Hungover in a Hotel,” “Breakup Breakdown” and the closing title track. In addition to announcing the album on Friday (August 25), the singer dropped a new track, “Let Your Boys Be Country.” Let your boys be country/Let ’em keep that red dirt on his boots/Make ’em proud of that middle of nowhere/He’s got down in his roots, he sings.

“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 explains in a press release. “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.” 

Photo Credit: Brian Higbee/Courtesy of BBR Music Group

The album was introduced via lead single “Try That in a Small Town.” The song made headlines for listeners’ polarizing reactions, with many viewing the song as racist and promoting violence. The video also drew criticism for being filmed in front of a courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee, where an 18-year-old Black man was lynched in 1927.

“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,” Aldean said in a statement at the time. “These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. 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.”

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Jason Aldean’s Controversial Hit “Try That in a Small Town”]

“Try That in a Small Town” is Aldean’s first song to reach No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. He’s also performed “Tough Crowd” at his live shows, including the 2023 ACM Awards.

Highway Desperado follows his double album, Macon, Georgia, released in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The albums produced a pair of No. 1 singles, “If I Didn’t Love You” featuring Carrie Underwood and “Trouble With a Heartbreak.”

Photo Credit: Brian Higbee/Courtesy of BBR Music Group

Leave a Reply

Classic Rock’s 8 Biggest Icons

5 Influential Female Country Songwriters of the 1960s and ’70s