Clear as Day by Scotty McCreery

Teen American Idol winner Scotty McCreery takes a page out of Taylor Swift’s playbook on his debut by adhering to songs about high school love, small-town life and other themes that align with his clean-cut teen image.

“Water Tower Town” is an energetic romp that would fit well in Josh Turner’s repertoire, yet neatly sums up Scotty’s wholesome, non-urban upbringing. The banjo-adorned “Out of Summertime” centers on high-school sweethearts, while it’s easy to see why this now-touring musician relates to “Back on the Ground,” which deals with being away from home too long.

The album’s lone cover is “Walk in the Country,” Scotty’s own take on a song co-written by Keith Urban when he was a member of the now-defunct trio The Ranch. Scotty’s voice is warm and big but not overpowering on the country-gospel album closer, “That Old King James.”

Though Scotty delivers this smart set of songs with confidence, intelligence and restraint where appropriate, his vocal nuances and phrasing too often recall Josh Turner and Randy Travis. Overall, a solid debut from a young, still- maturing artist.

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