On May 5, Scotty McCreery released his first single since 2015 -- and while the wait was longer than many fans wanted, it was worth it. A touching tribute to McCreery's grandfather and those good times that seem to go too fast, "Five More Minutes" is soulful and full of rich lyrical storytelling -- everything a country song should be.

Originally penned in early 2015, just weeks after McCreery's grandfather's death, "Five More Minutes" is a nostalgic song that reminisces about childhood evenings, first loves and high school football games -- but it's the man McCreery calls "Grandaddy" who is at the heart of the track. Written by McCreery, Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell, "Five More Minutes" quickly became a favorite for McCreery -- so much so that he couldn't wait to share it with fans.

"I wrote it on Feb. 5, 2015 -- I went back and looked up the date," McCreery tells The Boot. "That day, I tweeted out and said, 'I think I just wrote my favorite song I've ever written,' and ever since then, we've been playing it live."

While McCreery took a non-traditional route to releasing "Five More Minutes," choosing to play the song live for more than a year before officially releasing its studio version, the singer knows it was the right choice because the song is so personal to him.

"People [at concerts] were singing a song [back] to me that wasn't released yet. To have them finishing the words was unbelievable," McCreery says. "Now, I'm just excited to have it out there and let fans have something more than a YouTube clip."

Not that the YouTube clip in question was anything to scoff at: Last June, McCreery debuted "Five More Minutes" at the Grand Ole Opry. The emotional performance earned the singer a standing ovation -- just one of many that the song has received.

"My favorite thing about "Five More Minutes" is the fact that it really is a storyteller's song," McCreery tells The Boot, explaining his decision to perform a then-unreleased song at the Opry. "To me, country music is real people signing about real-life things, and that's what "Five More Minutes" is: It's a song about real life.

"And as far as a place goes, that really captures what country music is ... It feels natural to sing that song at the Opry, and it's been cool to see the reaction," McCreery adds. The singer says that he's performed "Five More Minutes" every time he's been back to the Opry since that night in June; in fact, it was the powerful reaction during that live performance that drove "Five More Minutes" to become McCreery's new single.

"I've written a lot of songs that mean a lot to me that probably will never be singles," McCreery says. "I think I was hoping ["Five More Minutes"] would be a single, but I wasn't entirely sure until things like the Opry happened and we got that standing ovation; and then, the video views started going up, and people started requesting it at shows. I knew it was a special song the day we wrote it, but I wasn't quite sure about it being a single until we started playing it live."

But "Five More Minutes" is only a small taste of what's to come from McCreery. In early 2016, the singer parted ways with his label, Mercury Nashville / Interscope, closing out the contract he received after winning Season 10 of American IdolLegal issues kept him busy and unable to release new music in 2016, but that didn't stop McCreery from writing "non-stop."

"I feel like I'm in a really cool spot, creatively, right now, that I've really never been in," he says. "I've lived a lot of lives the last two years -- from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, and everything in between -- so I feel like we've got some cool things to write about.

"We had an album ready to go in 2015 that was never able to get out there, so we're gonna use a few songs off that for the next record, but probably use a lot more of what we're writing right now," McCreery continues. "Because it's more current and up to date with where I'm at in my life right now."

Whether he's writing about those "highest of highs" or "lowest of lows," McCreery still wants to maintain a sense of optimism and hope with every song he records and performs. "Five More Minutes," for example, easily falls into tearjerker territory, but it holds a positive message for McCreery.

"Sure, it gets a little sad when you're thinking about time that's gone by and people that you've lost that you're not with anymore. But for me, when I'm singing it, I'm thinking back to good times and the good times I had with Granddaddy," McCreery notes. "Some nights, it will hit me a little different, and a tear might come to my eye, but most nights, I'm smiling because I'm thinking about the times we had together. So I'm hoping when folks hear this, they'll remember the good times they had with their own people like that."

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