Milwaukee Journal ..write up on Summefest
Milwaukee's first Summerfest with a three-weekend format (but not the last) called it a wrap Saturday night, but not before some of the music festival's brightest moments.
Ten years ago, after auditioning right here in Milwaukee, Scotty McCreery won “American Idol,” with a deep country voice that recalled the tone and style of Randy Travis. It was an exciting moment for fans of that already classic throwback country sound.
But when you win “Idol,” pop sounds call and McCreery did well charting hit singles that largely followed the modern country blueprint. They were successful but never artistically matched McCreery’s promise.
A decade — and a new record label — later, and McCreery has found his way back to a sound and ethos closer to the great "hat" acts of the 1980s and '90s, albeit with a backward-slung baseball hat in place of the cowboy style on his now-goateed babyface.
His headlining set Saturday night at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard proved it is a perfect fit.
On “Same Truck,” the title track of his new album, McCreery strummed an acoustic guitar in front of his talented five-piece band and sang an ode to unity, regardless of our diverse backgrounds.
Tracks from 2018’s “Seasons Change” followed a similar path. On “Wherever You Are,” McCreery longed for a distant love who is never far away over a brightly rumbling melody.
“We’re in Milwaukee tonight, baby!” he yelled. “We’re here together, let’s do it!”
A pedal steel moaned over the balance of “holy water and Jim Beam” on “In Between” as McCreery beamed at the crowd. It was a look of an artist who’s gone full circle and found his way home.
— Erik Ernst