Scotty McCreery hanging out in the mountains

Interview: Scotty McCreery Discusses ‘Rise & Fall’, His Friendship with Garth Brooks and More

May 8, 2024 10:27 am GMT

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American Idol champion turned country music superstar Scotty McCreery has already had quite the 2024, releasing some fan-favourites such as ‘Can’t Pass The Bar’, ‘Love Like This’, ‘Slow Dance’ and more - and, excitingly, the music just keeps coming.

On the heels of his Grand Ole Opry induction in April, McCreery is gearing up to release his sixth studio album, Rise & Fall, a title that sums up the highs and lows of his life thus far. As the record reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly – from love to heartbreak to fatherhood and beyond – the talented singer-songwriter explains to Holler why this title serves as the perfect summary of what Rise & Fall entails.

“I think we're at a pretty good spot right now with what we're doing career-wise, but it wasn't always that way,” the country crooner prefaced, prior to delving into the details. “It took us a long time to get going and get a little traction, and you know, the fall for me was 2016. We went through a lot of crap that year, and pretty much the whole year I didn't really see a light at the end of the tunnel, but we got through it. That year, I learned a lot about life and a lot about myself. I just kept building back to it and kind of got us back on the rise since then, but we wouldn't have made this record without both the rise and the fall”.

McCreery co-writing all but one of the 13 tracks on Rise & Fall – with the exception being ‘Hey Rose’ – and his longtime production team, comprising Frank Rogers, Derek Wells and Aaron Eshuis, took the helm once again for the project.

Rise & Fall finds McCreery the most vulnerable we've seen him to date, with the inspiration for this stemming from the place he knows best: the mountains of his home-state.

Scotty McCreery explains how the creative process for Rise & Fall was “completely different” than previous releases, “The main writing retreat was up in the mountains in North Carolina, and I took my crew of songwriters that I write a lot with up to our place in Linville, North Carolina,” he shared, describing the destination as his grandfather mountain. “We just sat around the back porch with the fire and had our guitars and wrote songs, and it felt like the old days. It felt like home

He concluded passionately, “I just think creatively it put us in a completely different mindset, and we might have just been cutting up and saying a thought we might not have normally said, or you know, had an idea we might not normally have had. I think that's a product of the environment we put ourselves in to write these songs.”

While McCreery’s music always tugs on our heartstrings, for better or for worse, this writing retreat resulted in some songs that deviate from the ACM Award-winner’s typical tunes.

There are a handful of heartbreak-driven songs the North Carolina native confesses might surprise listeners, “I'm very happily in love with my wife, but I feel like heartbreak is just part of country music, and it's a true feeling,” he shares. “Sometimes you can just play the role as an artist, so I'm happy to sing that song for you.”

Although Rise & Fall is all across the board – and unlike anything McCreery has released before – the ‘Cab In A Solo’ hitmaker champions it as his favorite album that he’s made so far, highlighting music he grew up on and has loved for years, as opposed to chasing the trends within the country music community.

“From start to finish, I'm just so proud of this record. The sounds, the feel, the vibes, the songwriting,” Scotty McCreery outlines, “There's not a song I'm not happy to have somebody listen to...If the label picked any of these songs to be a single, I'd be like, ‘Okay, that's fine. I'm good with it,’ whereas on past records, I probably would have fought them on certain songs. This record just feels like me. It feels right.”

Describing Scotty McCreery and his musical style to a T, it seems now - after more than a decade of successes, experimentation and growth in the genre's top tier - the multi-faceted singer-songwriter has zeroed in on his truest sound with Rise & Fall.

As well as delving into his new album, Rise & Fall, Scotty McCreery touched his biggest musical influences, his friendships with Garth Brooks and Josh Turner and more:

On his musical influences:

“I'm not sure too many of my influences have shifted. I mean, I'm still the guy that turns on old country just because that's what I like to listen to in the car, so you'll definitely hear those influences on this record. I love Garth Brooks. You're going to hear a little Garth on this record…These songs I'm proud to sing now, but I was influenced by songs that were like that growing up. I'm proud to have them in my catalog now”.

On his friendship with Garth Brooks and Josh Turner:

“I grew up listening to their music, and you know, Garth is Garth. There are no other Garths out there, so I grew up listening to his stuff, and just ever since I got started, he's been so kind to me and my family, inviting us out to his shows. I've gotten to know his family a little bit over the years, so he's just always been an influence, but to be able to say he's a friend too is pretty cool for me. The fact that he even flew in - he was on the West Coast that weekend - to invite me [to join the Grand Ole Opry] was pretty special for me, so I'll always be indebted to him”.

“Josh was a major influence to me, as everybody could tell when I first got started. His sound and who he is as a person, as a guy, as a family man, I just have so much respect for him.”

On family:

“We're gearing up for a busy few weeks on the road... We're all over the place, so we're just packing and doing laundry and everything, but Avery's doing great. He's 18 months, just growing like a weed, loves Toy Story, and Gabi's just crushing it as usual as a mom. She's just that awesome. Anytime [Avery] hears our stuff on the radio or anything, he immediately starts dancing and he'll start saying, ‘Daddy!’ and that's kind of like his music. If he's screaming in the car, that will chill him out. We've got to play ‘Fall of Summer’ and ‘Cab In A Solo’ and he will relax”.

On his plans for the rest of 2024:

“We're going to be busy. I ended 2023 saying, ‘I think I'm going to be less busy in 2024’. That ain't happening, but busy is a good thing. I'll never complain about it, but we're setting up this album and we've got a lot of fun dates on the road. I get to bring my wife and baby on the bus with us, so it still feels like home out there a little bit.”

On rest and relaxation:

“I'm not sure what I'd do to unwind right now, because we get off the road and then I go right into daddy mode and try to help out around the house and clean all the toys up, and then as soon as he wakes up in the morning the toys are back on the floor - but that's a labor of love. I wouldn't have it any other way. Just relaxing at the house with Gabi and Avery is my chill time. Oh, and walks around the neighborhood”.

For more on Scotty McCreery, see below:

Written by Melanie Rooten
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