Country Gone Coastal

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Events, Online Exclusives

Country music star Scotty McCreery performed at the Surf City Live concert series at Soundside Park on Saturday.

The 2023 Surf City Live concert series wrapped up on November 4 with a performance by one of the big names in country music: Scotty McCreery. The sold-out performance, which also featured performances by George Birge and Catie Offerman, was held at Soundside Park in Surf City.

You may have seen McCreery around Topsail Island before. When he is not touring across the country, the North Carolina native loves nothing more than spending time with family and friends at his home on Topsail Island.

Born and raised in Garner, North Carolina, 30-year-old McCreery has been a household name for nearly half his life. In 2011 at the age of 17 he was named the ACM New Artist of the Year after winning the 10th season of American Idol. He made history that same year as both the first country artist and the youngest male artist of any genre to debut his first studio album at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Since then, McCreery has gone on to earn a variety of other music industry accolades and sold more than four million albums, achieving five consecutive No.1 hits in the process with songs “Damn Strait,” “Five More Minutes,” “You Time,” “In Between” and “This is It.”

In 2018 McCreery married his high school sweetheart, Gabi, who he met on the first day of kindergarten at Timber Drive Elementary in Garner.

“We’ve known each other our whole lives, and our families still live about five or ten minutes apart from one another,” McCreery says. “I believe it was just fate.”

Last year the couple welcomed their first son, Avery, and the family now lives in Raleigh with additional homes in the mountain town of Linville and the beach town of North Topsail Beach. McCreery’s first introduction to Topsail Island occurred when he was a teenager and would visit the beach with friends. After his musical career took off, he and Gabi were searching for a place on the coast to build a second home and soon realized Topsail was the perfect location.

Scotty McCreery Photo by John Shearer

Scotty McCreery Photo by John Shearer

“There was a lot for sale two houses down from my childhood best friend and his in-laws, so it was a match made in heaven,” McCreery says. “We got to know the area better and saw how nice all the locals were, and it seemed like a perfect fit.”

The family started visiting their Topsail home in 2013, and for the last decade have been returning to the island every chance they get. McCreery blocks off a good amount of time from his tour schedule so that he can be at their beach home as much as possible. The whole family enjoys time on the water, including one-year-old Avery, who McCreery calls a “beach baby,” and even the family dog, who McCreery says loves to swim in the ocean. Some of the family’s favorite spots to eat while in the area are Daddy Mac’s and Shaka Taco in Surf City and Agave Azul, Cancun and Rick’s Restaurant in Sneads Ferry.

“We mainly go to relax because our schedule is so crazy on the road,” McCreery says. “We did more tour dates this year than ever before, so when we get to Topsail, most of the time we grab a chair, go sit on the beach, maybe play some cornhole and enjoy quality time with each other.”

When not busy touring, McCreery also enjoys playing golf, especially in the Topsail area. One of his favorite local tracks is North Shore Golf Course in Sneads Ferry, where he spends a great deal of time with his father and closest friends from high school and college.

“There’s eight of us, and we do this thing we named the State Cup twice a year,” McCreery says. “We just finished one at North Shore that we called The War of the Shore, and it was our 18th cup competition. We all grew up playing sports but can’t do much of that anymore, so twice a year we get a real dose of fun competition together.”

In October 2023 McCreery was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in recognition of his work as one of the state’s most notable musicians. It is an honor he does not take lightly, as he says he’s now in the company of several of his heroes, such as Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Ronnie Milsap and Andy Griffith.

“I don’t do the music for the accolades or anything, I do it because I love it, and I’d be doing it whether five people showed up at a show or 5,000,” McCreery says. “It’s a really special honor and means the world to me. I love North Carolina from the mountains to the coast, so it’s a big deal for me.”

McCreery’s newest song, “Cab in a Solo,” which he wrote with Frank Rogers and Brent Anderson, is the first single from his forthcoming album, due out in 2024. His Cab in a Solo Tour starts at the beginning of 2024 with a stop at Durham Performing Arts Center on February 1.

McCreery says he is excited for all that is to come in the new year and beyond and says no matter where his career ends up taking him, he does not see himself leaving Topsail behind for too long.

“I think I’ll be in Topsail forever,” McCreery says. “I love everything about the island. There’s enough to do, but it’s still really quiet and laid back, and the people are great. We’ve made lifelong friends here, so we won’t be moving away any time soon.”

Header Photo by Jeff Ray

About the author

Annesophia Richards

Annesophia Richards

After spending a decade as an English teacher in Florida, I moved to Wilmington in 2014 to be closer to family. I now spend my time freelance writing, working as a school interventionist and raising two very energetic children. I love exploring all that makes North Carolina such a beautiful state and travelling as much as my family and time allow! My writing appears in various local area publications. In my free time I tend to read or go for a run, and I also love competing in creative writing contests. I’ve received awards for several pieces of flash fiction. My ability to tell a good tale is a talent that I use nightly when tucking my kids in with a bedtime story.