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Scotty McCreery

See You Tonight – 2013 (MCA)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery's third release, "See You Tonight" is designed to market the season 10 American Idol champ as a more mature artist. Armed with songwriting heavies along with a guest vocal from Allison Krauss, it might work on paper. But in the end, he proves that his wheelhouse remains fun contemporary songs driven by his boy next door charm.

Ironically, for a fall release, the album is heavy on summertime themed tracks and upbeat party anthems. From Feel Good Summer Song to Feelin' It, there are plenty of lines about sand, sun and flip flops. Producer Frank Rogers (Brad Paisley) keeps the mix glossy and upbeat. With the exception of a few rockers featuring traditional fiddle and pedal steel, the album is easily suited for Top 40.

McCreery's distinctive baritone occasionally gives way to a new found tender upper register which at times works well but also feels watered down. It works best on the poignant highlight On The Dash, where he perfectly evokes the intensely deep meaning of a headstone at the memorial of a man who died in service to his country. "It ain't about the numbers chiseled in concrete; it's how they lived their lives in the dash in between."

McCreery flexes his own songwriting muscles with Rogers on the closing Something More. Even though the album doesn't seem to achieve its goal of painting the Idol winner as a more mature artist, he stayed with his core competency as one with a contemporary bent. For a 20-year-old college sophomore, there is still plenty of time to grow up.