Early last year, Scotty McCreery nearly hailed what he thought was a new album. Then most of the world took a break.
McCreery instead started strumming his guitar during the weeks when COVID-19 derailed his touring plans. He co-wrote a collection of thoughtful new songs, revamping his so-called fifth studio album with material born from his time at home.
“I only had time to sit there and pick up a guitar and write songs,” McCreery, 27, told the Tennessean. “My state of mind and my headspace, I think I was more thankful for the little things and looking back over the last 10 years of doing that, that I didn’t have time to sit still and do this since I was 15 years old.
“This is all what you hear”
Listeners find the result on “Same Truck”, a 12 song collection by McCreery that begins with the small town unifier “Same Truck” and ends with the prayer question “How Ya Doin ‘Up There”.
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“Same Truck” debuted Friday via Nashville’s Triple Tigers Records. Read highlights from a new Tennessee interview with McCreery.
On his classic country influence
McCreery walks a sonorous tightrope that delves into his country influences without abandoning the modern hitmaking of Music Row.
He grew up with Ronnie Millsap, Conway Twitty and Randy Travis. Listeners hear his retrospective influences – like ’90s’ It Matters To Her’ – through a crisp, modern production filter and McCreery’s inviting baritone voice.
“It’s not necessarily something that I set out to try and do,” McCreery said of his sound, adding, “My thing is telling stories through a country song. My thing. favorite to do is tell stories. We have the songs that might work best. [with] the country today broadcast on the radio, but my heart always brings me back to that classic sound. ”
Writing about the house
McCreery remains unabashedly dedicated to her original North Carolina scene on the album, co-writing the standout song “Carolina To Me” as a nod to her Wolfpack roots.
On the number he sings: “You think of the pearly doors / You think of the streets of gold / And I think of those long pine leaves lined with Tobacco Road … all that is heaven for you / Is Carolina for me.”
“I love North Carolina,” McCreery said. “My drummer… always jokes like, ‘Dude, once you get out of country music, you don’t get into tourism in North Carolina anymore. “So I could do that.
“[The song] is my love letter to North Carolina, and I’m letting people know that. ”
By being at ease
On “Same Truck,” listeners hear an MCCreery that “got comfortable in my skin,” he said. A decade after entering the limelight as a teenager on “American Idol,” he has taken on personal stories that seem natural to a married 27-year-old dog father.
“Going through your awkward teenage years in front of the nation was a little unsettling,” McCreery said. “It was great to be able to do all these crazy cool things at such a young age … but it all came to me so quickly. I didn’t have time to figure out what I was doing. How to make a record. . How to write a song. ”
He continued, “Now it’s like, hey, I’m 27. I’ve been married for three years, have a beautiful wife and a dog that we love. I love telling these stories. writing songs, instead of running away from my personal life, I embrace her. ”
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On his song about George Strait
McCreery winks at George Strait on “Damn Strait,” a song written by Trent Tomlinson and Jim Collins that compares the great singer’s discography to a lost lover.
On the track, McCreery sings, “Damn Strait, I loved your songs / But now every time we come in / My heart breaks in two.”
McCreery grew up as a Strait fan; his first country concert was a double program with Texas legend and Reba McEntire.
“Now I write most of my stuff and love it. I feel like I have a personal connection to the songs I write,” McCreery said. “In order for me to cut songs on the outside, I have to love it. I have to believe it. I have to feel like me. It has to sound like me.”
He added, “I listened to it and freaked out a bit for a little while. I loved it from the start.”