'This Is It' singer can't be upset with Gabi for no longer going above and beyond on one sacrificial chore. "She puts up with me and all the crazy schedule and what I do," he says.

By Nancy Kruh
March 21, 2019 03:15 PM
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Credit: Ed Rode

Eight months into his marriage, Scotty McCreery says the honeymoon phase definitely isn’t over. But one thing has recently changed from the early days: Wife Gabi has decided driving her husband to his early morning flights is perhaps beyond the call of duty.

“The other day,” McCreery tells PEOPLE, “she was laying in bed, and she said, ‘Remember when they told you there would come a day when you’d have to get yourself to the airport? That day is today.’”

McCreery chuckles. “I said, ‘Well, I don’t blame you. You stay in bed.’”

Spoken like the happy husband that he obviously is. “She’s awesome,” McCreery, 25, says of his wife. “She puts up with me and all the crazy schedule and what I do.”

Then again, who wouldn’t put up with a man who has been proclaiming his love for her in a No. 1 song?

“This Is It” — McCreery’s musical account of his real-life proposal and wedding — recently spent two weeks in the top slot, and the North Carolina-based artist was in Nashville on Wednesday to celebrate at an ASCAP-hosted party.

Kurt Johnson, President, Country Radio Broadcasters and Senior Vice President, Townsquare Media, with writers Scotty McCreery, Aaron Eshuis and Frank Rogers.
| Credit: Ed Rode

“It’s probably my most special song I’ve had yet,” says McCreery, who shared writing credit with Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis. “When I wrote it, I literally didn’t think it’d make the record or go on radio because it was so personal. ‘This is just for you, baby.’ And the label heard it and said, ‘No, this is going on the record and this is going to radio.’ And I was like, awesome! So it’s pretty cool to see such a personal song take off like it did.”

“This Is It” is McCreery’s second consecutive No. 1, following in the footsteps of “Five More Minutes,” a song inspired by his late grandfather. McCreery says both demanded equal celebration, but the second achievement felt different.

“The first was the excitement of finally getting on top of the mountain,” he says. “This one for me seems a little more validating. It’s like we’re not a one-hit wonder. We’re here to stay.”

Back row: Lee Krabel (Senior Creative Director, Smack Songs); Norbert Nix (Partner/GM, Triple Tigers Records); Scott Stem (McCreery’s manager, Triple 8 Management); Evyn Mustoe (Associate Director, ASCAP); George Couri (McCreery’s manager; Founder, Triple 8 Management; Partner, Triple Tigers Records); David Macias (Partner, Triple Tigers Records); Mary Ann Keen (Associate Director, BMI); and Kevin Herring (SVP of Promotion, Triple Tigers Records). Front row: writers Aaron Eshuis, Scotty McCreery, Frank Rogers
| Credit: Ed Rode

RELATED VIDEO: Scotty McCreery Marries Gabi Dugal in North Carolina — All the Details!

McCreery says he’s been feeling a growing career momentum, particularly from the crowd response during his ongoing headline tour. “Boston was sold out — 2,500 folks — and that’s one of the bigger crowds we’ve had,” he says. “When they’re singing songs back to you, it’s like, man, we’ve worked so hard for this and it’s finally paying off.”

Looking ahead, McCreery hinted that plans are in the works to support a fall arena tour “with some guys that I love their music.” And radio is now beginning to play his new single, “In Between,” which also features life-inspired lyrics.

McCreery co-wrote the song four years ago, when he was dating Gabi but not quite ready for marriage. Hence the lyrics: “A far cry from being a one-night stand / but I ain’t ready for a ring on my hand.”

That mood had definitely changed by the time he entered the recording studio, he says, “but I felt like that was kind of where I was when I wrote the song — part of the magic of it — and we didn’t want to change anything up.”

McCreery’s current preoccupation reflects another significant change from his dating days. He and his wife, who works as a nurse, are now in the throes of housebreaking their 4-month-old labrador puppy, Moose.

“His potty training is coming along nicely,” McCreery says. “I wouldn’t have said that last week, but he’s had a good couple of days.”

Offering other pupdates, McCreery reports Moose loves to play fetch “for hours,” dig in the dirt and drink out of the backyard drain. “We’re like, ‘Don’t do that, buddy!’” McCreery says.

“He’s a little rascal,” McCreery adds, “but we love him.”