During an interview with Skip Clark on the Skip Happens podcast, the singer-songwriter recalled his first time seeing Strait perform live. He described it as an “unreal” experience with an iconic lineup.
“[George Strait] was my very first concert I went to. It was him, Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack. It was unreal for a first show and I just remember sitting there watching him in the arena and being like ‘man, how cool is that,’” he gushed. “You know he has his own songs, 60 of them are No. 1s at least and people are there crowding an arena singing his songs back to him and dancing like that was the dream of mine when I was a teenager and it’s cool to now have a little taste of what he’s got, but I don’t think anybody will touch what he’s got.”
Following his accomplishment as one of the youngest winners of American Idol in 2011, McCreery finally got the chance to talk to the artist that has inspired him for so many years. During the finale of Season 10, McCreery and fellow country artist Lauren Alaina were gearing up to take the Idol stage as a last stitch effort to win over America’s vote. But first, they each had to lock down which songs they would sing. It was a no-brainer for McCreery to select Strait to choose the song he would sing as one of his final performances on the show.
Once the “Amarillo By Morning” singer got word of the young artist’s choice, he reached out to him, showing support and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of his musical journey. This was a moment McCreery will never forget.
“Me and Lauren sang three songs in the finale, we got to pick one, the judges got to pick one and one of our Idols got to pick one and so George was mine and he called me up and was on his boat like in the Caribbean fishing and he called me and said ‘hey man, appreciate you for saying I’m your Idol and would love for you to sing ‘Check Yes or No.’”
He stole the hearts of the live audience and viewers at home with this song selection. Since that moment, McCreery has incorporated “Check Yes or No” into many of his own sets. Then a year or two later, the artists got to meet face-to-face for the first time.
“I think we were doing a show at The Ryman and he was on as a surprise guest and I didn’t know he was going to be there, but I get a tap on the shoulder and I turnaround and it’s George and he’s like ‘what’s up Scotty? How you doing?’ I was like ‘oh my gosh.’”
McCreery’s latest record Same Truck, features a single titled “Damn Strait,” which references several George Strait classics including “Blue Clear Sky,” “Give It Away” and more. Once again, he got the approval from Strait who shared the song on his social media accounts.
The tribute was taken a step further when McCreery filmed the music video for the heartbreak track in Gruene Hall, a venue Strait regularly performed with his Ace in the Hole band before his solo career launched. Since being added to country radio, this single co-penned by Trent Tomlinson and Jim Collins has continued to rise up the charts.
Scotty McCreery is currently in the midst of his Same Truck Tour.