It's another No. 1 hit for Garner native Scotty McCreery.
The 2011 "American Idol" winner's newest album "Seasons Change" debuts at the top of Billboard's Country Album chart. It's McCreery's third album to reach No. 1 on the country charts, following 2011's "Clear as Day" and 2013's "See You Tonight."
"Seasons Change" comes in at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart, which includes albums of all genres.
"Clear as Day," released after McCreery won Season 10 of "American Idol," also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart.
The album milestone comes after McCreery's "Five More Minutes" single reached No. 1 on Billboard's country airplay chart last month — McCreery's first No. 1 single.
“I’m excited,” McCreery said last month after hearing about his No. 1 single. “It was a big mountain to climb... This gives more validity to what I've been doing. Credibility as an artist has been the goal the last few years — to move away from the TV guy who was on 'American Idol' to be a country artist with songs and stories."
“Seasons Change" is a slice of North Carolina with lots of local details, and even a beach song (“Barefootin’”). It's the first album where he co-wrote every song, so it means a lot to him.
It's also his first album since being dropped by his label, Universal Music. He said last month that it took most of 2016 to find out where his music would find a home.
"Professionally, 2016 was not fun," McCreery said last month. "Boom, I was out. That was a shock. With losing that deal came figuring out the “American Idol” deal I was locked into. So I spent every day in 2016 on the phone with my attorney and business manager figuring out that mess and where the next home for new music would be. It took until that December (2016), and here we are today."
This year will be a busy one for McCreery. While he no longer is a student at NC State, he is touring and is planning a summer wedding with longtime girlfriend Gabi Dugal.
He'll also be revisiting "American Idol," the reality singing competition now on ABC, sometime this spring in the role of guest mentor, a spot that has already been recorded. It's expected to air in April, but the date has not yet been released.