Breaking Down the Population of Every “Small Town” on Jason Aldean and Kid Rock’s Upcoming Tour

The results are just as you'd expect from the singers of "Try That in a Small Town" and "Bawitdaba."

Music News Jason Aldean
Breaking Down the Population of Every “Small Town” on Jason Aldean and Kid Rock’s Upcoming Tour

In 2024, country music “stars” Jason Aldean and Kid Rock will embark on their Rock the Country Tour, a seven-city, co-headlining itinerary that will find the two musicians traveling across the United States and making stops in “small towns.” “Rock The Country is for everyone who makes this country run and loves America,” Kid Rock said in a statement. “Nobody knows how to party like Small Town America.” Now, I grew up in a town with a population of 3,500 people. It’s the epitome of the Small Town America that Kid Rock and Aldean have seemed to bank this recent, flailing chapter of their careers on. And they’ve invited friends and washed-up comrades like Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nelly, Travis Tritt, Big and Rich and Uncle Kracker to join them for the ride. It’s a who’s-who of pop country singers and rock bands who haven’t made worthwhile music in decades. Or, in the case of some, ever.

While Kid Rock grew up in Romeo, Michigan, which has a population of around 3,000, Aldean is from Macon, Georgia, whose population is 234,802 people. The median of those two numbers is still, somehow, smaller than one of the stops on this tour. So, in the spirit of interest, let’s take a look at the population numbers of every destination on the Rock The Country tour, according to the 2020 census.

Gonzalez, Louisiana: 12,231

There is no real population distinction between towns and cities, so it’s hard to say what the cutoff point is. We’ll have to just guesstimate, though there’s a certain commonly understood energy that, in small towns, it’s a Cheers effect. Everyone knows your name. You can also distinguish between the two by acknowledging that cities are more developed and their urban areas go beyond just local commerce and government. The county seat of my home county in Northeast Ohio is Warren, and its population is 39,201 people and its density is 2,456.82 per square mile. A place like that is big enough that even its longtime residents haven’t seen the entire city, and you sure as hell don’t know every person who lives there. I’d say Gonzalez is closer to a small town than a city.

Ashland, Kentucky: 21,625

Ashland is nearly three centuries old, and it’s a home rule-class city in Boyd County, Kentucky. It’s also the largest city in the county and rests on state border of Ohio near West Virginia. It’s a city, likely one of the more developed part of the region it resides in. While it’s not as big as some county seats in larger states, don’t let the rural framing fool you. Ashland is not the small town Kid Rock and Jason Aldean make it out to be.

Rome, Georgia: 37,713

The first city to clock in with a higher population than the big city I grew up near, Rome is a beautiful spot in upstate Georgia that is the county seat of Floyd County. It’s no Atlanta, of course, but it is the 26th-largest city in the state. It had a strong factory imprint in the 1950s, as General Electric started building medium transformers there. During the Vietnam War, it was a hub for plow manufacturers. In 2023, Rome is big in the tech industry. Not a small town, though.

Ocala, Florida: 63,591

The numbers keep rising and Aldean and Kid Rock’s pockets keep lining. Another county seat, this time in Marion County, Ocala is the 54th-most populated city in Florida, which might seem like barely a dent. But remember, Florida is one of the biggest parts of the continental United States, and Ocala’s greater metropolitan area actually has a population of 375,908.

Mobile, Alabama: 187,041

There’s nothing quite like a beautiful, low-key getaway to the small town of Mobile, Alabama, where the population is just a hair over 187,000 people. For reference, Akron, Ohio, one of the greatest hubs of manufacturing in the Rust Belt, has a population of 189,000 people. It’s barely half as big as the small town Jason Aldean was born in!

Poplar Bluff, Missouri: 16,225

If your county seat only has a population of 16,000 people, then you’re as close to a small town as you can possibly get. I’ll give one point for effort here, as Poplar Bluff is likely the most authentic spot on the tour itinerary. It’s where University of North Carolina basketball legend Tyler Hansbrough grew up, and it’s where you’ll be able to buy $15 beers and hear Kid Rock slur through a rendition of “We the People.”

Anderson, South Carolina: 28,106

The seat of its namesake County in South Carolina, Anderson is a principal city in Greenville and has a population of 28,000 people. If you count the fact that it’s not a rural town and is, instead, a part of a metropolitan area where 1.3 million people reside, then I’d say even its sub-30,000 population number is a hard argument to latch onto.

Places like Gonzalez and Poplar Bluff and Ashland are only small in the sense that they are the “smallest” destination that can still produce money for Jason Aldean and Kid Rock if they visit. These guys are capitalist country musicians who aren’t going to play shows for the sake of pride and fandom. The label “small town” they thrust onto these venues is just a PR stunt, even if Rolling Stone wants to call these places such a thing, too. Bands you love don’t come to your city because there’s a history of it not making any money. These “towns” are glorified cities, or, at the very least, are crucial pieces of larger metropolitan areas that beckon tourists and commerce. When you think that Gonzalez, Louisiana is a little gem, remember that it’s the Jambalaya Capital of the World and holds an annual festival that brings thousands to the area every year. Don’t let these two hack outlaws in tight jeans fool you; they have no real interest in the parts of America that make this country run. They’re only willing to go where the money goes, not to 3,000-person, middle-of-nowhere pockets you might pass through for two minutes on a drive towards someplace bigger.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin