Triple Tigers Records
Release Date: September 17th 2021
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Same Truck
- You Time
- It Matters To Her
- Damn Strait
- It’ll Grow On Ya
- The Water
- Why You Gotta Be Like That
- Carolina To Me
- Small Town Girl
- That Kind Of Fire
- How Ya Doin’ Up There
I think I’ve mentioned this fact several times on this website. But since branching out in 2019 to many different types of music beyond the genres of CCM and worship; I’ve been inspired and blessed to hear country music– the deep, introspective, honest, personal, emotional and reflective melodies, that hit my soul hard to the core. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Maddie & Tae, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Hunter Hayes, Lauren Alaina, Martina McBride, Cassadee Pope, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris, Lindsay Ell, Tenille Arts, Ingrid Andress, Gabby Barrett, Chris Stapleton, Carly Pearce, Kelsea Ballerini, and even Taylor Swift; have all inspired and blessed me greatly with their powerful, confronting and challenging melodies. Even though I’m not American, it is these artists above who have helped place this genre in a special place in my heart. Yet Life Rolls On by Florida Georgia Line was, for all intensive purposes, an album that made me lose my faith in country music a little bit. Not a lot, but just a little bit. I reviewed the album here, but the gist of my assessment of one of the most blandest country albums I’ve ever heard; was that it was honestly a train-wreck. I can’t sugar-coat this review, and it made me think that maybe the country genre was more like another cog in the machine of mass-produced Nashville inspired melodies; rather than the deep-thinking, moving and thought-provoking genre I initially believed it to be. This fact is why Scotty McCreery’s latest album Same Truck, with an on-the-surface similar vibe and atmosphere to Life Rolls On, was an album that I didn’t have high hopes for. I was intrigued- simply because the genre was country, and that of late I’ve never been steered that wrong by the genre before; however I was still apprehensive. Yet a few listens to this poppy and honest album over the past few weeks; reveal a much more dynamic and musically diverse album than I originally realised. Scotty’s new album doesn’t reinvent the wheel of country music- but it’s miles better than anything from Florida Georgia Line. And that’s definitely a good thing.
A lot of these songs are really a collection of songs from over the last year and a half or so. There’s a couple in there like ‘The Waiter’ that I wrote in 2015 and ‘That Kind of Fire’ that I wrote in 2015. Most of these were written in the last year and a half to two years in life. It’s just kind of where I was at in life and where I am. You know, I think I’m in more of a mindset of reflecting and thinking about what’s important to me as opposed to looking ahead like I have been on previous albums. So I think it’s a really personal record and just kind of shows you where I’m at today.
I’m not sure any song is easy to write or hard to write. It’s just kind of every song’s different. Sometimes you’ll write it in an hour, sometimes you’ll write it in three or maybe a few days. So from thinking, you know, ‘Same Truck’ for me I felt was a message that I really believed in and I’ve always thought. We kind of put it in terms of how I grew up and country roads. So to me that was something from the heart and something that I was familiar with, the way we wrote it. So that one wasn’t particularly too tough to write.
I think with me and the way I write my songs, I’ve just learned that the way I write is through personal experience and what I love and what I know and what I’ve lived through. So I think the main thing for me, and this is with every record just because of how I got started so young, is just I really just grew up as a guy, you know, as a man. And that obviously influences me as an artist ’cause that’s what I’m writing from. So I think last time I was making a record, me and Gabi still hadn’t been married yet by the time the record was out, we were just about to get to that point. So I was very much looking ahead at life and excited about life and what our next chapter was gonna be. But this time I finally had time to sit down and reflect. I really haven’t had this much time off since I was 15 years old, so getting to that state of kind of reflecting and thinking about what’s important to me, I think that just kind of really influenced the album that we made.
I don’t think that many people know who Scotty McCreery is, aside from his win in the 7th season of American Idol in 2011. His discography of 4 albums (prior to this one, and inclusive of a Christmas album!) haven’t exactly wowed the world to the extent that he’s a big, big star… but Same Truck is earnest, hopeful, honest, and vulnerable. And maybe, just maybe, there’s enough here for all of us to stand still, focus and take notice of this still up-and-coming country star in the making. The title track opens proceedings, and straight away, Scotty delivers lyrically. Presenting to us an uplifter and an encourager, Scotty relays that we’re all humans, and are all together in this life. it’s a ‘you’re not alone and we can all band together’ kind of blanket-inspirational melody; and though there’s the sense of cliché-ness and a formulaic nature about this song specifically… there’s still something about it that makes me smile, tap my toes, and agree with the lyrical sentiments. For it is true that we all can make it through this life with friends and family- and sometimes we do need to know that we’re not alone so that we can rise above adversities and hardship. And as Scotty fervently relays to us that ‘…we’re all in the same truck, heading down a different two lane, kicking up the same dust, praying for the same rain, closing down the same bars, different wishes on the same stars, getting every mile out of these good years, ’til the day He calls us up…’, we are encouraged to never ever give up on this road called life- because if we do look hard enough, there are people around us who are in the same boat. And doesn’t that sense of peace make life all that much better and more satisfying?
The rest of Same Truck delivers in spades, despite my earlier preconceived ideas of country and especially bro-country. “You Time”, a catchy pop/country melody, speaks about Scotty’s desire to be close to his wife and to make some quality memories with her, despite living life as a travelling and touring musician and being on the road for extended periods of time; while the moving and powerful “It Matters To Her” is a song that speaks about the fact that every little minute thing that a husband does for is wife to show her that’s he is loved, special and beautiful, in fact does matter to her, despite what men may believe. It’s a song that is a semi-wake-up call to the men in that we all need to treat our wives with respect, dignity, and love; while the mid-tempo ballad “Damn Strait” is a homage and tribute to country legend George Strait (and probably a satirical piece as well!), with the persona letting George know that he can’t listen to his songs anymore, because they all remind him of his ex and they’re all so sad now. It’s a melody that speaks about how we all place value on the song and what it makes us feel- and this melody inspires us to see the worth in a song and to love a song even though it makes us sad- because at least it made us feel something.
“It’ll Grow On Ya”, a breezy, summer-y laid-back 3 minute tune, speaks about the benefits of living in a small town, and how city people can fall in love with a country town just like that with the click of a finger; while probably one of the most emotional songs on the album is “The Waiter”. Sung from the point of view of a waiter, the track speaks about a widower who goes to the same restaurant every Friday night and orders for himself and his dead wife. It’s a song that speaks about the true meaning of devotion and love, and that unconditional love towards someone stretches beyond death and anything else we can comprehend. Some may say that the man in the song is crazy or senile or has dementia; but I reckon a song like this, which is similar in theme to Thomas Rhett’s “Remember You Young”, puts everything in perspective, and reinforces the very need for people to stay faithful to their spouse and to work out any differences they may have. After all- a long-lasting marriage is a marriage that is sure to be extremely enjoyable and satisfying.
“Why You Gotta Be Like That”, a fun, playful, pop melody, speaks about Scotty’s wife and how her beauty makes him want to express that love for her in a more primal, physical way; while the melancholy but reflective and contemplative ballad “Home” speaks about maturity and growing up to be an adult. As Scotty relays that he used to hate his home, he now speaks about having a realisation that the home isn’t so bad. With Scotty singing out that he has had a newfound appreciation and a love for his home now that his wife is in it; we are presented with the concept that being at home is a state of being, and should be where you are with the people you love. Home isn’t a place, but it’s the people that make the home. “Carolina To Me”, probably the most spiritual song on the album, speaks about Scotty’s faith and his love for Jesus, but the track also doubles up as a celebration to his home state of North Carolina, that ‘…you think pearly gates, you think streets of gold, and I think about them long leaf pines lined on Tobacco Road, you think skies of blue, you think angels’ wings, I think grandpa on an old creek bank and a Zebco 33, and we all got our own opinions, we all believe what we believe, but everything that’s Heaven to you is Carolina to me…’; and though a melody like this may sound like Scotty is downplaying his faith and placing his love for North Carolina above Jesus, I reckon that this is instead a song of thanks to God for letting him live in what Scotty believes is the most awesome place to live.
“Small Town Girl”, an ode to Scotty’s wife Gabi, gives us all hope that we can find a love as beautiful and unconditional as how we all could ever imagine, with Scotty asking us ‘…why would you look around this big old world, don’t waste your time, you ain’t gon’ find one like a small town girl…’; while the penultimate track on Same Truck is “That Kind Of Fire”. A track that once again speaks about the love he has for his wife and that they both can have the spark and fire within them to be in love for a long, long time; we are encouraged and inspired to always work on our relationships, and to place the relationships we hold dear the most above any other. Same Truck ends with the heartfelt and poignant “How Ya Doin’ Up There”. A personal, honest prayer to Jesus, Scotty ends the album talking to God and to just check in with Him (like how you do with a mate!). And as Scotty eloquently relays that he knows that God is in control of everything (yes, including the pandemic!), Scotty still prays to God for reassurance and for confirmation that everything will be ok. Similar in theme to Mickey Guyton’s “Heaven Down Here”, we are presented with one of the most thought-provoking songs of the year thus far.
I thought it [Same Truck the song] was a cool way to say that message, “You know, we’re all in the same team. We’re on the same boat. Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down.” And we kind of countrified it. We put it in a truck, and took the song down some backroads, and wrote about different things that I grew up doing, and a lot of us grew up doing. It’s like, “Hey, we’re all doing a lot of the same things here. We’re thinking a lot of the same thoughts. And we’re all more alike than we are different.” So I took that thought and made it into a country song.
It’s [singing] something that I always did. People ask me, “When did you start singing?” And I don’t have an answer for that…I don’t remember not singing. Whether it was singing in church, or whether it was me trying to be like Elvis Presley and singing all of his songs growing up. I always was doing that…singing was something I enjoyed doing. So I’m glad this worked out because I’m not sure what I’d be doing if it didn’t.
I feel like I’ve already lived a lifetime here in this industry. 10 years is a long time to get to be doing this. So I’m grateful that I can still make country music and travel the world, and people will show up and actually sing my songs back to me. It’s amazing. And I’ve definitely learned a lot about country music, about myself as a person and an artist. Hopefully, I’ll continue to grow and learn. These last 10 years have been awesome, and I’m just looking forward to the next 10.
Scotty McCreery’s album Same Truck has solidified my position that country music is my most favourite music genre after CCM. And as we hear love songs to his wife, moving, heartfelt ballads like “The Waiter”, “Home” and “How Ya Doin’ Up There”; Same Truck tries to fill an empty void we’ve all probably had since quarantine and lockdowns. An album that is sure to bring us comfort, healing and a healthy discussion about love, life, God, death, the afterlife and everything else in-between; this album isn’t for the faint of hearted. And it isn’t for just background music. So let me just say… listen to the album, and be blessed by one of the most underrated artists I’ve heard recently. Same Truck doesn’t redefine country music. It is formulaic, but the album is the best example of formulaic country music at its brilliant best. Well done Scotty for a well thought out album. I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for you in the coming weeks and months and years!
3 songs to listen to: The Waiter, Home, How Ya Doin’ Up There
RIYL: Luke Bryan, Dan + Shay, Gabby Barrett, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton