GARNER — When Scotty Mc Creery returned home last month to perform in the "American Idol" concert, a Nashville film crew was on hand to shoot footage for a documentary on the young singer.
The film will air on the Great American Country cable channel in October.
The crew, led by Todd Cassetty, interviewed Scotty at Raleigh's RBC Center on July 27, then toured Garner the next day, gathering interviews for "Introducing," a biographical series on GAC that features rising country stars.
"It's amazing to drive around town and see all the signs people have made to support him," Cassetty said of his time in Garner. "It couldn't happen to a nicer young man."
Cassetty said the film crew hit familiar Scotty hot spots - Garner High School, Garner First Baptist Church, Lowes Foods. Producers plan to tell a more in-depth story than "American Idol" was able to do in its short home-visit segment that was shown in May.
The GAC special will look at all things Scotty - the baseball field, his favorite Mexican restaurant, his musical influences.
And, of course, Garner's charm will be spotlighted.
"The thing we noticed right off the bat in Garner," said Cassetty, "is that everybody issuper-friendly. Like a whole 'nother level of friendliness. It's a charming place."
Cassetty's tour guide around Garner was Beth Hunnicutt, the music minister at Scotty's church.
"They were very complimentary on the McCreery family and Scotty, and the way Scotty's handling himself as a new artist," she said.
Hunnicutt said some of those interviewed for the special were Scotty's Sunday School teacher, Keith Perry; his high school music teacher, Meredith Clayton; his guitar teacher, Gary Epperson, and his former baseball coach, Derik Goffena.
The 'it' factor
Cassetty, who owns a TV production company called Todd Cassetty Welding Service (they "weld stories together," he said), has produced projects featuring artists such as Reba McEntire and Jimmy Wayne. His company also produced the "Taylor Swift: Speak Now" special for NBC.
Cassetty thinks Scotty is "the real deal."
"Seeing him at the concert, I was blown away," Cassetty said. "He's got incredible stage presence. Performing for a huge arena crowd is different than performing for a small crowd on television. Whatever 'it' is, he's got it."
Cassetty also was impressed with Scotty on a more personal level.
"As someone who works with a lot of artists, you always wonder what the real person is behind the public persona," Cassetty said. "The great thing about Scotty is it's exactly the same. He's a solid-as-a-rock good guy, and down to earth.
"And frankly, I think that is what has made him successful and what won 'Idol' for him. People sense that genuine young man, and they either want to date him or want their daughters to date him. ... He's definitely more mature than any 17-year-old I've ever met."
"Introducing: Scotty McCreery" is set to debut Oct. 3 on Great American Country.
That's the day before his debut album, "Clear As Day," is set to be released.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-4579