Scotty McCreery will release a new album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, on Oct. 16 that features many of the holiday songs that have played an important role in his life, as well as two exciting new originals that he hopes will have a place in many Christmases to come.
“Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year,” he says. “And what is Christmas without music? We start listening to Christmas songs early in the McCreery household, so it felt right. I’ve always wanted to record a Christmas album since I’ve had my music career.
“It’s a special thing for me,” he says. “As a family, we were all really excited about making a Christmas album. Now we can add my CD to the collection we listen to.”
McCreery quickly emerged as the most successful new country artist of the last year. He won New Artist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April, the same award he received at the American Country Awards in December. He also won the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year for “The Trouble With Girls” at the 2012 CMT Music Awards. He was ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s list of Top New Country Artists for 2011 and has been touring as part of Brad Paisley’s “Virtual Reality Tour 2012” presented by Chevrolet.
Christmas with Scotty McCreery, an 11-song collection produced by Mark Bright, follows his history-making debut album, Clear As Day, which was certified platinum for sales of more than 1 million units in just three months. Clear As Day debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts, making him the youngest man in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. It also garnered the highest sales of any country solo album released last year and held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for six weeks. The album’s first two singles, “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls,” have also been certified gold.
McCreery’s goal for his Christmas album was to create a body of work that makes people feel good and celebrate the birth of Jesus. “I just wanted it to be holly and jolly and really lift people’s spirits in the Christmas season because it’s supposed to be a really happy time. But I also wanted to get across the real reason for the season. ‘Christmas in Heaven’ is my favorite song on the album and it really speaks to that.”
Of course, the album embraces the traditional country sound for which McCreery has become known, but he also stretches his boundaries a bit to showcase songs with a more rocking feel, like “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Back in Town,” and even create a musical atmosphere reminiscent of the Rat Pack on some songs.
“There will be some songs that sound like a different Scotty – not different as far as not country, but a different sound than they heard on the first album. Hopefully, they will be pleasantly surprised.”
He says deciding which songs to record was the most difficult part of the process because there are so many great Christmas standards. “I knew of a few that I just had to do, like ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ and ‘The First Noel.’ Then we heard some originals that blew me away and it was a no-brainer to put them on the album. When I heard ‘Christmas in Heaven,’ I listened to the first verse and automatically said, ‘You can stop it. That is on the album.’
“The other new song is called ‘Christmas Is Coming Around,’” he says. “That’s just a great story about Christmas time and really just lifting people’s spirits. Times may be tough, but during Christmas, it needs to be a happy time.”
Since his elementary school days, he has delivered special performances for Christmas. In elementary school, he got a last-minute solo in a holiday concert and was able to sing it with ease. He played Joseph in a Christmas play and sang “O Holy Night” in fifth grade.
“For the last few years, I sang ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ in Christmas Eve services before the church service started with my friend Cody Wilson. He would play a little drum and I would play the guitar.