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The Villages
Thursday, March 23, 2023

Scotty McCreery gets it ‘Damn Strait’ for sold-out show at The Sharon

About  20 years ago a little kid named Scotty went to his first country concert in North Carolina and saw George Strait.
“I’m sitting up there in the nosebleed seats watching these people on stage have the time of their lives singing country music,” Scotty McCreery told a sold-out audience Wednesday in The Sharon.  “I was only 10, but I thought I’d like to do that. Now, here I am –right in The Villages singing to you people tonight.”

Country singer Scotty McCreery played to a sellout crowd Wednesday in The Sharon
Country singer Scotty McCreery played to a sellout crowd Wednesday in The Sharon.

From “American Idol” to the top of the country music charts, little Scotty – now 29 — grew up to be a country music star.
Damn straight.
Or as McCreery sings in one of his biggest hits, “Damn Strait.”

“I mean George Strait is the greatest and this song is a tribute to George,” McCreery said before ripping into the number about a girl who left him during a George Strait song. “That song is the most fun I’ve ever had making a record. It hit No. 1 on the country charts for three weeks.”
 The packed house roared with approval, when McCreery sang these lines: “Damn Strait, you’re killing me man/You know I’ve always been your biggest fan/Now, I can’t even listen/’Cause I’ll get to missin’ her/Then the hurt gets worse.”

Former American Idol winner Scotty McCreery is now a country music star
Former American Idol winner Scotty McCreery is now a country music star.

Such is the power of country music, and McCreery and his ultra tight five-piece band gave it a sometimes rocking contemporary edge.

McCreery exploded to fame after winning “American Idol” in 2011.  “I can’t believe it has been that long ago,” he said. McCreery still looks like the country boy next door, with short hair, and a trim body. He was modestly dressed in jeans and a black shirt.

With McCreery, it’s the music – not the look – that matters. He radiates a down home wholesomeness to go with a warm personality.
And the dude can sing.
He opened with a rousing “In Between,” a slow-starting song that heated up. “Small Town Girl,” was perfect for line dancing and having some fun. “Feelin’ It,” is a chill-out number about hot days in the sun.
“It’s always summer in The Villages,” McCreery said. “Y’all sold the place out tonight.  Thank you for being here.”

He is open with his emotions  by revealing a personal side to his music. “It Matters to Her,” tells a story about his relationship with his wife. “It matters to her/It stays on her mind/When you put her first/Every single time.”

“It’s my wife’s favorite song,” he said. McCreery then detailed their relationship that started in kindergarten until they were married nearly five years ago.
“I remember our first date,” he said of his wife, Gabi. “I took her to Bojangles for some chicken. Now, if a girl agrees to go with you to Bojangles on your first date, you know she’s special.”
Their relationship became more special last October when their son, Merrick Avery McCreery was born.
“It’s tough to get away and be on the road because I miss them so much,” he said. “But I’m happy to be here with you tonight.”
McCreery then sang a heartfelt cover of Bryan Adams’ ballad, “Heaven.” Just when you think that McCreery has gone overboard with romantic music, he blasts off with a hard-rocking take on John Michael Montgomery’s “Be My Baby 2-Nite.” Another stellar cover was “Blue Clear Sky,” originally done by George Strait.

Scotty McCreery urges the audience to join in song
Scotty McCreery urges the audience to join in a song.

McCreery showed musical versatility throughout the concert. He was able to combine country (“This Is It”), with power pop (“On It”) and deeply moving ballads like “Five More Minutes.”

Put it all together and you have a one-time teenage “American Idol” whose childhood music dreams came true.

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