Scotty McCreery celebrated his first No. 1 single with “Five More Minutes” on Wednesday (May 23), at the Country Music Association’s offices in Nashville. Ahead of an industry party where the singer was given several plaques and No. 1 medallions to commemorate the career achievement, McCreery met with local press to talk about the song’s success and the career-changing accomplishments he’s piled up recently.
Alongside co-writers Monty Criswell and Frank Rogers, the singer shared the personal story behind his hit. McCreery explains that he had lost his grandfather, Bill, two weeks before his writing session with Criswell and Rogers. When he met with the songwriters, he told them about his grandfather’s life and how he wished he could spend more time with him. Criswell had been holding onto a title, “Five More Minutes,” for years and thought McCreery’s relationship with his grandfather could be the concept of a song.
“His relationship with his grandfather was crucial to making the song,” Criswell tells Sounds Like Nashville. “I [had] this title around for, it’s been years, just kind of buried, sitting there, and it was obvious you’d do it with these little vignettes. Writing a song is like going into a burning building. I’d rather not do it unless there’s a way to get out. And, Scotty’s relationship with his grandfather was the exit sign.”
The singer says the moment he wrote “Five More Minutes,” he knew there was something special about the song and it remains his favorite song he’s ever written. It was so special, in fact, he bought back the publishing rights for the track when he was dropped from his label in 2016. He then released it independently before eventually signing with Triple Tigers.
“At the core of country music, it really all comes down to the song,” McCreery said during his acceptance speech. “Out of every song that I was willing to bet my career on, ‘Five More Minutes’ was that.”
He adds, “This one was special from the moment we wrote it. This is one of those songs where in the first verse I’m thinking about specific moments in life. The last verse, obviously the grandfather verse is, for me, different nights it’s tough to get through. I just lost my merch guy, Jim Carson, last week. For me, it’s about my grandfather, but a few nights ago on the road I was thinking about Carson. Waterworks every time. But even the second verse as well, talking about football. I played baseball, but that line, ‘Next time I get in here I’ve gotta buy a ticket.'”
Criswell noted that the sports-related lyric was his favorite line of the song. McCreery came up with it himself and he says it still holds weight today, three years after the song was written. While “Five More Minutes” is specific to McCreery’s life, each verse holds a universal feeling that many people have gone through, including being called in for supper as a kid, young love and family loss.
“I think everybody has hung up a helmet or a glove for the last time,” Criswell reasons. “I think everybody remembers their mom or their dad calling them in for supper. There was a creek across the street from where I grew up. I got called a lot, several times, for supper. And we’ve all had somebody on the front porch at night that we were kissing goodbye to, but we’ve wanted a little bit longer with ‘em. We’ve all lost somebody. So, even though it’s really specific for Scotty, I think it’s universal for everybody and everybody can grab something from that song that connects with them.”