"You Time" doesn't need to be penciled into the calendar any longer for Scotty McCreery and his wife Gabi. While the new song speaks to a time when they'd literally pass each other coming and going, the pandemic and his wife's career moves have changed that.

Written around the time "Five More Minutes" (2017) was becoming a comeback hit for McCreery, the 26-year-old's uptempo new single speaks to a couple that has to work to line up their busy lives. It's a progressive beat with more bounce that's not necessarily reflective of how his next album will sound, he shares. But it is reflective of his life at that moment.

"Our neighbor would always crack up because he’d see me flying in, coming back from the road," McCreery tells Taste of Country, "and Gabi would be driving out and we’d kiss each other hello and goodbye at the same time and that was our interaction for a lot of that year.”

His wife of two years was a pediatric nurse at Duke University Hospital and he was touring, or hustling to promote his new music with more urgency than ever as he was transitioning between record labels. Now secure with three straight No. 1 singles (including "This Is It" and "In Between"), he can relax if he wants.

Actually, he doesn't have a choice.

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced the couple to spend all of their time together whether they want to or not, but McCreery has no complaints. They've caught up on projects around the house and helped shape Gabi's next career move. She's done with the hospital setting, he says, and is looking to get into missionary work as a nurse.

This will leave more flexibility for her to tour with McCreery, something they'd planned on during a Chris Young tour that was scrapped in 2020. McCreery's high school sweetheart is also his No. 1 set of ears and eyes and now, more than ever, he appreciates her input. Although it comes with more candor than he might like at times.

“She’s honest," he says, shaking his head. "She’ll tell me if she loves it … or there’s been plenty more times where she’s kind of like, ‘Well, that’s not your best. Try again tomorrow.’”

Musically, McCreery's fourth non-holiday studio album is not complete, but it's close. Most of the songs were recorded pre-pandemic, but the North Carolina native and resident says there's a good chance something from this time in American culture will appear in the remaining songs. He only specially mentioned one other song called "Small Town Story" as a way to make his point about his wife's influence.

“One of the lines of the record talks about blue eyes, and she’s like, ‘You know I got hazel eyes,'" he remembers, smiling. "I was like, ‘Yeah, but hazel doesn’t sound good in this line right here.’”

If "You Time" sounds more contemporary, don't get used to it. For the first time since his debut album, McCreery will feature fiddle across the new material, and there's still going to be plenty of steel guitar. It's not hard to imagine his most traditional record to date, something fans and country music media said about Seasons Change when it was released in 2018.

Professionally and personally, McCreery is doubling down on what works.

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