Music Spotlight: Scotty McCreery

May 10, 2024 at 12:12 am by Bethany Bowman

To say 2024 has been a banner year for Scotty McCreery would be an understatement. From his beloved North Carolina State making it to the NCAA Final Four to recently being added to the prestigious roster of Grand Ole Opry members, you would think that there wasn’t much left for the 30-year-old to accomplish.

In 2011, 17-year-old McCreery beat out Lauren Alaina to win American Idol. In June of 2018, McCreery married the love of his life, Gabi, and in 2022 they welcomed a son, Avery. Since becoming a solo artist, the Triple Tigers recording artist has garnered 5 number-one hits, including the fan favorites, “Five More Minutes,” and “Damn Strait.”

On May 10th of this year, McCreery released his fifth studio album, Rise and Fall featuring 13 tracks that explore the themes of heartbreak, rowdy nights, nostalgia, faith, newfound joy, fatherhood, and enduring love.

McCreery stated in his press release, “I know every artist says it, but this is truly my favorite album I’ve made so far. I wanted to create an album that reflected the music I grew up on and wasn’t chasing trends. So, I brought several of my songwriting buddies to the mountains of North Carolina to sit down and write a full-on country album that told a story, start to finish, and spoke to my soul.”

Before the release of his new album, McCreery sat down with several journalists to discuss life and his newest project. The one thing I wanted to know was where his confidence came from. I have never seen a teenager as confident as he was when he was on American Idol.

He told me, “My sister is where I got my confidence from. A lot of folks would be embarrassed by their little brother or something. And she never was. She'd let me hang out with the older kids and would you know let me just go do things that a lot of older sisters would not let their younger brother do. Also, I’m a pretty competitive guy and I wanted to see how far I could go.”

To create the Rise and Fall record Scotty and his writing pals took two different retreats to the North Carolina mountains. He confided, “I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make an album without doing the retreat thing again. I just think, creatively, it puts me in a completely different spot than kind of waking up and knowing I have a scheduled writing appointment at 11:00 and driving to the office to [write a song]. It was just a relaxed atmosphere, and it felt like a great way to write. It felt old school.”

Brent Anderson, Derek Geroge, Monte Criswell, and Frank Rogers are four of the songwriters who joined McCreery at his mountain retreat.

One of the first songs they wrote was “Cab in a Solo,” a cleverly written heartbreak song that had the singer smiling the whole time. “That's some country music there -- just the twist of the words and a good old-fashioned hook,” he reported.

Besides playing his hits, McCreery has been test-driving his new songs at his live shows. One song that has been a favorite with the crowds is the raucous feel-good song “Can’t Pass the Bar,” a song that appeals to lawyers and country boys alike.

 “Once you’ve heard that song, you know you’ve got to buckle up,” he proclaimed.

But McCreery has a softer side. His rich baritone rings true in the nostalgic song, “Slow Dance” lovingly enhanced by a pedal steel guitar. He enjoys seeing the couples sway to the sentimental song as he sings.

But then he gets back to the rowdy behavior with “Lonely,” a kind of Irish drinking tune where the guy goes off to drink away his sorrow but doesn’t stay lonely long because his buddies are there to join him. 

In "No Country for Old Men," McCreery addresses the loss of traditional country music in a classy and meaningful manner. The song “Red Letter Blueprint” is a tribute to the Good Book they wrote while lounging around Frank Rogers’ grand piano.

The song “Fall of Summer” is about a summer romance ending as summer comes to a close. And for some reason, it is his son, Avery’s favorite song. “I can barely sing it, I am smiling and laughing so much.”

The most meaningful song on the record to McCreery is “Porch,” where a lot of the songs on this record were written on the breezy Appalachian mountainside. With the words Little man, little man, climb up in my lap/ Leave your little boots by mine on the mat/ One day you’re gonna make this big world yours/ But you’ll always have a spot by your Daddy on the porch, the artist can barely get through the honest lyrics while singing the song live.

And while Scotty McCreery is a happily married man, he admits that some of his favorite songs were heartbreak songs. While writing the record, they decided to write the songs from the heart and have fun doing it. He confessed, “I have enough baby and daddy songs to make five more records if I want to with how many we wrote” but he knows he needs more to make an interesting album that appeals to his vast and varied fanbase.

Because of this, I wanted to know how the song, “Hey, Rose,” a song McCreery did not write made it onto the album. It’s about a girl who was hurt and puts up a barrier and the new guy promises to be there for her.

He explained, “This song was sent to me in 2015. I was on a trip with my boys, and we were on the porch at the Greenbriar Golf Resort in West Virginia. It was late at night when I got sent this song. I said, ‘Guys, listen to this.’ I instantly fell in love with the guitar and the story behind the song. The melody line is like something I'd never heard. But I didn't feel like it fit the record we were making then, so we didn't put it on there. Made another record. I didn't feel like it fit that record. And we made this record, and I didn't feel like it fit this record, so we didn't pick it. But we finished early in the studio, which never happens.”

Since he already had the session players booked for another hour, they decided to record the song. “It was completely different than the demo. It felt like magic. Every single band guy came in one by one who didn't know the other person said it. They're like, ‘Please tell me that's going to make the album.’”

From beginning to end, Rise and Fall is one of the finest collections of songs I have heard in a long time. From the rowdy Honky Tonks to the serene front porches, this record has it all.

McCreery stated, “I didn't want the whole album to be so autobiographical. I’m a good spot personally and career-wise and I wanted to make a record that feels good to my soul.” And as great songs go, what feeds your soul will also fuel others.

Something amazing happens when a singer/songwriter has a bit of success and can relax and enjoy the music they are creating. The talent that brought them their initial success blossoms and becomes even more exceptional than it was before. Scotty McCreery’s latest record, Rise and Fall is a prime example.

You can follow Scotty McCreery on his website, Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and all streaming platforms.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and X(Twitter).

Rise and Fall track listing 
(Songwriters in parentheses)

  1. Little More Gone (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  2. Cab in a Solo (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Frank Rogers)
  3. Lonely (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  4. Can’t Pass the Bar (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Cale Dodds, Frank Rogers)
  5. Hey Rose (Jay Brunswick, Jeremy Bussey, Bobby Hamrick)
  6. Fall of Summer (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Monty Criswell)
  7. Love Like This (Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers, Aaron Eshuis)
  8. Slow Dance (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Monty Criswell)
  9. No Country for Old Men (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Monty Criswell)
  10. And Countin’ (Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey)
  11. Stuck Behind a Tractor (Scotty McCreery, Chase McGill, Rhett Akins)
  12. Red Letter Blueprint (Scotty McCreery, Derek George, Brent Anderson, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  13. Porch (Scotty McCreery, Greylan James, Heather Morgan)