Scotty McCreery - Rise And Fall

Triple Tigers


The latest member of the Grand Ole Opry, Scotty McCreery was a teenage winner of American Idol in 2011. Almost immediately he gained a lucrative contract with Interscope/Mercury Records, yet despite some big-selling albums, he failed to make a big impact on America’s country radio and the major label dropped him five years later. He bounced back when he signed with independent label Triple Tigers and released Five Minutes More, the first of six consecutive chart-topping singles. With RISE AND FALL, his sixth album, Scotty moves one more step forward with the big difference being: stronger material. He had a hand in co-writing all bar one of the baker’s dozen, but I do wonder why on many of these songs, there was a need for six or seven writers to be involved. I understand that Nashville’s music community thrives on co-writing, but this is excessive, and surely removes all the personal emotions, on which the very heart and soul of country music was built. Many of the songs drip nostalgia, ripe with memories—both past and present—of home, family and romantic entanglements. But I have to ask myself, with so many collaborators, just whose memories are these? 

With producer Frank Rogers at the helm (assisted by Derek Wells and Aaron Eshuis, the album feels big and alive with a definite 1990s neo-traditionalist feel to it. Scotty sums up how he really feels about today’s music with No Country For Old Men, and then proceeds to serve up just what those old men will love. He may be on the road regularly, playing sold-out shows all over the world, not to mention TV and radio interviews, but at the end of the day, home and family is where this country star’s heart is. A spin through this new album serves up the proof in such songs as Love Like This, Slow Dance, Porch and Red Letter Blueprint. Exemplifying his affinity for accessible melodic transitions and descriptive subtleties, Slow Dance is one of the album’s most unshakeable songs. A deftly written romantic ballad, in which he turns his life around, to leave the rat race outside his front door, unwind and turn his kitchen into a dimly lit dancefloor to romantically smooch around with the love his life, all delivered with a smooth as butter deep sensuous vocal. With Love Like This, he recalls the night his now almost two-year-old son Avery was born. The emotional song captures the sheer joy of a new parent, as he shares his innermost feelings for his wife Gabi and that small bundle of joy, that totally changed both their lives.

Though Scotty warms the heart with his songs of hearth and home, faith and family, he also pays homage to his love of 1990s freewheeling honky-tonking country with Can’t Pass The Bar. A good ol’ boys working anthem—a stop-off at the local watering hole following a long week of hard graft is a must. Ferocious plucky banjo, and raging guitars hammer home the lyrics with a sense of fun and playfulness as Scotty shows that he can rock-out with the best of ‘em. He returns to the bar for the heartbreaking Lonely, a somewhat sombre track, telling the story of a lonely man drowning his sorrows with his buddies. As one drink follows another, like all drunks, he gets more and more boisterous as the song builds into a ragged barroom singalong. In contrast, the contemplative Fall Of Summer is a fluid and engaging listen, a sequence that conjures the tropical side of life, even as the air outside grows colder. It makes for a delightful track, just the thing when you are wrapped up at home from the cold or sitting by a roaring fire. Despite my initial misgivings about the sheer number of co-writers involved in these songs, at the end of the day, Scotty McCreery’s footprint is all over this album. And that’s not a bad thing, as I feel I know the man a little better, than I did before listening to this well-crafted classic 1990s throwback country collection.

May 2024