Christmas with (or without) Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery’s new album, “Christmas with Scotty McCreery,” is comparable to a really bad meal, where the only thing that keeps you truckin’ is the dessert that comes at the end. The great majority of the first two-thirds of the album was made up of Christmas classics, starting off with the impression that the listener won’t be hearing anything that they haven’t heard before. However, there is some redemption for McCreery towards the end of his sophomore album.

The American Idol winner can be assured that no one is left unsure of his North Carolina roots. His country twang remains prevalent throughout, and overshadows virtually all vocal ability. On some songs, like “The First Noel,” McCreery’s slow, heavy, baritone voice was just about all the listener could hear; however, on tracks such as “O Holy Night,” McCreery himself was nearly inaudible.

Now it’s time for the dessert. This album peaked at the very last song, “Santa Claus is Back in Town.” Abandoning his pursuit of showing off his country accent, McCreery settled into a sort of country-rock groove. At times, it seemed (admitted a little grudgingly) reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s version of the same song.

Although “Merry Christmas with Scotty McCreery” features two originals, only the song “Christmas Comin’ Round Again” is really noteworthy. Even though McCreery himself can’t take credit for it, Jonathan Yudkin’s bright fiddle-playing turns a song about holiday heartbreak into one of new hope.

Despite the fact that there is much room for improvement, at age 19, McCreery is certainly a talent. It is almost sure that his early success will give him opportunities to grow immensely as an artist. For now, though, “Merry Christmas with Scotty McCreery” will go back on the shelf.