OFFSTAGE: Let’s Be Scotty McCreery’s New Best Friends

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Any time a country singer wins American Idol, I think it’s only right to get to know them better. Scotty McCreery has been thrust into the country world, kind of overnight. So if country fans haven’t already learned who he is, consider this your Cliff Notes. For starters, he’s not really a man yet. He is only 17. He is from Garner, N.C., although he’s probably packing for Nashville right this minute. He was a cashier at the Lowes Foods grocery store in his small suburb. He and his best friend Kyle Wiggins love playing baseball (McCreery is a pitcher) and watching SportsCenter on ESPN. Some of his first singing gigs were at the First Baptist Church in Garner. He seems to have gotten the hang of Twittering. His musical influences are Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Elvis, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Randy Travis and, of course, Josh Turner. But he admits he still listens to his Jackson 5 Greatest Hits album all the time. The words he lives by come from Phillipians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” McCreery is or was (I don’t know quite how Idol handles school for its younger contestants) an honor roll student at Garner Magnet High School, where he is (or was) a member of the Garner High Die Miestersingers. The first concert he ever went to was George Strait and Reba McEntire. Add that all up and McCreery sounds like the kind of guy God molded to be a country singer.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.