Scotty McCreery fans will not be disappointed with his debut album. 'Clear as Day' shows growth without losing that loveable, Opie Taylor-like quality that endeared McCreery to millions of Americans during his 'American Idol' run.

McCreery is at his best when he embraces his small-town charm, and he does so frequently on 'Clear as Day.' Songs like 'Water Tower Town,' 'Dirty Dishes' and 'Write My Number on Your Hand' all sound like they could have come from the singer's pen during English class at Garner High School. 'Write My Number' is the sneakiest of this bunch. Producer Mark Bright lets the instruments breath on this likely album cut; who knew McCreery's voice would sound so good over a simple ukulele?

'Walk in The Country' is the album's standout track, and McCreery would be wise to release it as the next single. Keith Urban was right when he told McCreery this song would be a good fit for him; the only thing missing is Urban's guitar. McCreery says scheduling prevented the superstar from recording for this cut and the studio guitarist does fine, but one can't help but wonder, "What if?"

Bright may not have been the best choice to produce this album. His background includes pop artists or country artists that lean pop (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts). While McCreery came from a popular television show, his voice requires a more traditional packaging. The heavy strings on 'Clear as Day' distract one's attention from a tear-jerking lyric. A gold tooth in the soon-to-be 18-year-old's perfect smile would stick out less than the backing vocals on 'Better Than That.'

McCreery should be proud of his debut effort, but he should also be taking notes as he learns the ins and outs of the music business. The next time around, he'll have plenty more time to be sure all the elements are more in line with who he is as a singer and a person.


Scotty McCreery 'Clear as Day' Giveaway

Enter here to win a copy of Scotty McCreery's new CD, 'Clear as Day'! Contest ends Oct. 18, 2011. Be sure to read the official contest rules.