Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeMusicAlbum Review- Scotty McCreery’s “Rise & Fall”

Album Review- Scotty McCreery’s “Rise & Fall”

photo: Jeff Ray

If you need yet another sign that country is country once again, give Scotty McCreery’s new album Rise & Fall a spin. Not dissimilar to the recent traditional country albums of Zach Top or Jake Worthington, or the surprisingly traditional country double album from Ernest, Scotty McCreery has caught country fever, and has released perhaps the most traditional country album of his career.

We’ve always known that Scotty McCreery had this in him. He made his way through American Idol singing the songs of Travis Tritt, George Strait, Alan Jackson, John Anderson, John Michael Montgomery, and Josh Turner. And unlike other singers, Scotty can handle those low end songs of Josh Turner and others as one of the greatest baritone/bass voices in modern country.

So many entertainers come to Nashville with strong country roots and a desire to showcase them in new, original songs. Then a manager or label sets them up with a hot producer, they get slotted with hit songwriters, and since they want to keep everyone happy with radio singles that keep the cash coming in, they fall head first into the Music Row system. Next thing you know, they scarcely recognize themselves.

It’s not that McCreery has been completely immersed in the realm of pop for his career or anything. “Five More Minutes” is a fine song, and so was “Damn Strait,” despite the production holding it back, and Mike and the Moonpies (now Silverada) doing it first. But Rise & Fall is the moment we’ve been waiting for from McCreery, where the promise of his voice and influences are employed on a host of by God country songs. He’s not just singing about the old greats anymore. He sounds like them.

It’s the current moment in country music that has facilitated McCreery making this move. This is the reason the success of other more traditional country albums and artists is so important, as is the receding relevance of radio. But it’s Scotty McCreery’s talent with country that makes the move so effective.

The album’s big single “Cab In A Solo” still has some of those buzzy, radio-friendly phrases, even if the the steel guitar is turned to 10 unlike we’re used to hearing from one of the top songs on country radio. Rise & Fall does have some other songs that seemed tooled for radio, like “Fall of Summer,” which perhaps they hope will become a seasonal hit.

But you also have plenty of hardcore traditional country moments to sink your teeth into, starting with the opening song “Little More Gone,” then onto the slow heartbreaking waltz “Lonely,” to the darn near country protest song “No Country For Old Men.” MeCreery may have included a couple of radio singles in the mix. But otherwise, he went full throttle traditional country here.

Rise & Fall may be traditional country, but it’s also a Scotty McCreery album. He’s not just going to turn on the twang to chase the current hot trend any different than he was apt to follow Bro-Country down that primrose path. The song “A Love Like This” is about the birth of his son, and “Red Letter Blueprint” is McCreery putting his faith on display, which he’s never shied away from in his career.

McCreery co-wrote every song on Rise & Fall, and instead of working with songwriters in Nashville, wrote many of the songs while on a retreat near his home in Raleigh. Not moving to Nashville has always kept McCreery a bit on the outside looking into mainstream country. Despite pretty solid success including five #1 singles and counting, you rarely see Scotty on the awards shows or in the nominations. He is, however, the newest Grand Ole Opry member, which to McCreery, probably means way much more.

This is the moment for artists like Scotty McCreery to step up and take advantage of the music opening up and sounding more country. For some, they’re having to figure out how their songs and voice fit into this new paradigm. But for McCreery, it’s the moment he’s been waiting his whole career for.

1 3/4 Guns Up (7.8/10)

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Purchase Rise & Fall

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