Scotty McCreery, the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, recently sat down with Music Mayhem backstage at the Opry’s “Welcome To The Family” room to discuss his fifth studio album, Rise & Fall, which he proudly calls his “favorite project to date.”

Scotty McCreery Talks New Album, Rise & Fall

McCreery began by expressing his excitement about the new album and sharing how the project is truly a great representation of where he’s at in life right now. “I’m so so excited about this album, Rise & Fall. It’s just a great representation of where I’m at right now… It tells a story from start to finish. I’m proud of every single song, and this project feels very, very, very me,” he shared.

Scotty McCreery 'Rise & Fall' Album Art
Scotty McCreery ‘Rise & Fall’ Album Art

The 13-track project, which is some of McCreery’s best work yet, solidifies him as a mainstay in the country music genre. With Rise & Fall, McCreery brings back the genuine country music sound that fans adore and have longed for, a sound that has been absent from country radio for years. With storyteller lyrics and the inclusion of signature country elements such as the fiddle and steel guitar, McCreery showcases his dedication to the authentic sounds that Country music is best known for.

Instead of chasing the trends or writing to make a hit at Country radio, the North Carolina native drew inspiration from his traditional country roots and musical heroes such as Randy Travis, Merle Haggard and Patsy Cline and allowed them to shine through.

“I feel like I’ve always tried to do a good job of taking my traditional influences and kind of meshing them together with what’s going on out there. And I think this record, we didn’t have any agenda,” McCreery explained. “We just were like, ‘Hey, let’s sit down around a fire with our guitars and write songs and see what we come up with.’ And we came up with songs that I just really love and hope everybody else out there does too. But yeah, it was a freeing feeling writing songs like that and not thinking about what’s hot at radio and what’s going to stream this or that. It’s like, no, I think people love country music because it’s authentic. So that’s what we tried to be.”

Scotty McCreery; Photo Courtesy of Chris Hollo/Opry
Scotty McCreery at the Grand Ole Opry; Photo Courtesy of Chris Hollo/Opry

The Album Takes Its Namesake From A Lyric In “Fall Of Summer”

As for the title of the project, McCreery unveiled that it stemmed from a moment of realization when he was listening to “Fall Of Summer,” a standout track on the album.

“Rise & Fall… it’s a [lyric] in the chorus of ‘Fall of Summer,’ and I couldn’t figure out a song title that I wanted to title the album. I didn’t think that one title really encapsulated everything that I wanted to say and then just one day I was listening to ‘Fall of Summer’ and I heard Rise & Fall and was thinking ‘wow, I don’t think I could’ve made this record that I’m so proud of without both the good and the bad that’s gone on in my career.’”

He Co-Wrote 12 Of The 13 Tracks, Only Including 1 Outside Cut: “Hey Rose”

McCreery admitted that “it was tough” curating the track list for the album, describing it as a challenging process to narrow down a collection of songs to get the final 13-song track list. Of the 13 tracks, the North Carolina native wrote 12 of them himself, with the only exception being “Hey Rose” and there’s a reason that he wanted to include this outside cut on the project.

“I just love it, it’s called ‘Hey Rose,’ and I’ve listened to the demo just all the time when I’m driving in my truck, but I didn’t feel like it fit a couple albums that we made between when I got it and this one… I didn’t even pick it for this album either,” he prefaced, before unveiling how the song finally made the album.

He continued, “We just finished early in the studio, which never happens, and we had an extra hour [of studio time] and my producer Frank was like, ‘well, we paid the musicians to be here. We can either all go home early, or we can cut another song. It doesn’t cost us anything extra.’ I was like, ‘well, shoot. I was like, let’s just see if ‘Hey Rose’ Works. Everybody knows the vibe of the record now that we’re done with it, so let’s see if it works in that vibe. And it did. I love it.”

“No Country For Old Men”

Among the tracks on the project, “No Country For Old Men” stands out and pays homage to traditional country music. Co-written by McCreery alongside Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell, “No Country For Old Men” finds the singer/songwriter questioning the disappearance of traditional country music while reminiscing about classic country hits and artists such as Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash.

Throughout the nostalgic tune, which is reminiscent of The Bellamy Brothers’ “No Country Music For Old Men,” McCreery longs for the days of storytelling, heartache and authenticity in country music. Luckily for McCreery and country music fans, his project revives the traditional country music sound that many have been longing for.

“This was one of the writing retreat songs, and I think this was a Monty Criswell title. He’s got so many ideas and hooks, it’s crazy. But this was the last song we wrote that night, so we’d all had a great time, and we were cutting up around the table. It was a group write, I typically write with two or three people, but this was I think five or six of us together, and we just had a ball. And everybody in there has a deep love and respect for country music, and especially the traditional stuff. So I don’t think of this song as a statement more so than just a ‘hey, they don’t make ’em like they used to kind of thing.’”

Delves Into Personal Life Topics Such As Fatherhood

In addition to preserving the traditional country sounds, McCreery also delved into personal life topics on the album, including fatherhood. McCreery became a first-time father to his son, Merrick Avery McCreery, in October of 2022, and it was at that very moment when he began writing a song inspired by fatherhood and that song is featured on the record, “Love Like This.”

“I’ve always been an open book about my life, my family, my faith, my friends, and everything. I’m happy to just talk about life and I think writing for me, I’ve always written from the heart, and I’ve always said, for me, it’s easier for me to write a song if I’ve lived it, if I know it, if I believe it and fatherhood… that’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life, so how could you not write songs? I started writing a song the night he was born, and that was ‘Love Like This,’ just sitting there looking at him and Gabi was like, man, I’ve known love but not like this. So I was taking pictures of the room number he was in, so I could put it in the song and all sorts of stuff.”

He also detailed how fatherhood has completely changed him as a person. “I think you just realize what’s important in life and perspective changes, and it’s no longer about me or could be, I feel like as a singer, an artist, so much as like, what do you want? How do you feel? What do you need? It’s like, no, that’s not the case anymore. For me back home, it’s all about Avery and [my wife] Gabi and how I can help. So I think that’s been huge for me and he’s changed my world. I want to be here for him and help him grow into a great young man.”

Scotty McCreery; Photo Courtesy of Jeff Ray
Scotty McCreery; Photo Courtesy of Jeff Ray

Throughout Rise & Fall, authenticity, heartfelt storytelling and the beloved sounds of country music reign supreme. With the project, he also honors the legacy of country music and the legends that came before him, while cementing himself as a country music icon in the making. Could Scotty McCreery’s Rise & Fall be the start of a revival of traditional country music? We think so.

Scotty McCreery Rise & Fall Track List

  1. Little More Gone (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  2. Cab in a Solo (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Frank Rogers)
  3. Lonely (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  4. Can’t Pass the Bar (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Cale Dodds, Frank Rogers)
  5. Hey Rose (Jay Brunswick, Jeremy Bussey, Bobby Hamrick)
  6. Fall of Summer (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Monty Criswell)
  7. Love Like This (Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers, Aaron Eshuis)
  8. Slow Dance (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Monty Criswell)
  9. No Country for Old Men (Scotty McCreery, Brent Anderson, Derek George, Frank Rogers, Monty Criswell)
  10. And Countin’ (Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers, Bobby Hamrick, Jeremy Bussey)
  11. Stuck Behind a Tractor (Scotty McCreery, Chase McGill, Rhett Akins)
  12. Red Letter Blueprint (Scotty McCreery, Derek George, Brent Anderson, Jeremy Bussey, Monty Criswell)
  13. Porch (Scotty McCreery, Greylan James, Heather Morgan)
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Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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