Scotty McCreery bet on himself for his third studio album. The mostly self-written, very autobiographical Seasons Change details his engagement, makes clear that he’s no saint and reminds you that while he’s Nashville proud now, he’ll always be a Carolina boy.
In fact, fiancee Gabi Dugal and his home state dominate the 11-song project, his first on Triple Tigers Records after two records on UMG Nashville. It’s counterintuitive to claim that in spite of the very high profile way we met the now 24-year-old singer we didn’t really know him until now, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Part of the reason is that he’s a more competent writer than ever, something he’ll freely admit.
McCreery and Dugal are set to marry this spring in what the singer describes as a very classic, old-school destination wedding. Deep inside the album liner notes he lets his love of six years know that every love song he writes is about her, and that’s apparent on Seasons Change, but not in a way that’s obstructive. This is important because great songs don’t just tell great stories, they’re accessible.
“Wherever You Are” and “Still” are the two most obvious examples. The first — a fun, mid-tempo, melodic pop-country cut — puts a roseate spin on the struggles of long-distance love (for the last several years they’ve been split by his job in Nashville and hers in Durham, N.C.), while the latter is a soft, dare-we-say sexy ballad. To this point, the Season 10 American Idol winner has not cut a true bed sheet burner, but this one comes close. However, he never objectifies. The woman he’s singing about is never reduced to a one-dimensional, here-for-the-pleasing cartoon character. There’s a maturity here that amidst widespread, valid complaints about how women are treated in society and entertainment deserves to be mentioned.
“She’s still working,” McCreery says when asked what the future holds for them. “She’s a nurse. She’s a very strong, independent woman. She wants to make her own living and all that. So I fully support that. I wanna support her dreams just like she supports mine.”
“This Is It” is the song everyone will gravitate toward, because it tells the story of how McCreery proposed to Dugal. There is a major twist to that story, which you can learn all about below, but the takeaway is how much it is a blueprint for that afternoon.
He always has been soft-spoken, even as a chip forged from competitive fire grew larger and larger on his shoulder. Through the years he hasn’t so much been protective of the details of his life as he has just not been great at presenting them. McCreery constantly referred to this “we” when asked questions about his career or life. He doesn’t any longer. Expectations were very high and the results weren’t always satisfying. They are now.
“You live a lot of life 17 to 24,” he says, reminding us of something so obvious but so forgotten when it comes to the celebrity lifestyle. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s seven years, so it doesn’t sound like that big. But those are big years in anybody’s life. Moving out on your own, you’re paying your own bills, getting married. For me I’ve been robbed at gunpoint, I’ve been sued, I’ve been dropped by labels … there’s been a lot of life that’s been lived in these last seven years.”
More than ever before he’s figured out how to funnel it into his music. Well, most of it. “There’s not a robbed by gunpoint song but that’d make a cool wild, wild, west song.”