Native North Carolinian Scotty McCreery has sung the praises of his home state for a long time, literally.
Take a look at the track listing on his album See You Tonight, for example. Now North Carolina is returning the favor by honoring him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award. That might sound like something the Boy Scouts hand out, but it's actually a prestigious honor bestowed by the governor recognizing "exemplary service" to the state. To give you an idea of just how big a deal it is, past recipients include Maya Angelou, Gerald Ford, John Glenn, Billy Graham, Andy Griffith and Charlie Daniels. Charlie was even on hand to help surprise Scotty with the honor during an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry this week.
"It's a great feeling to know that my state is proud of me," Scotty says through is publicist. "Having it presented to me here at the Grand Ole Opry, which is my favorite stage to perform on, is fantastic. Then, receiving it in front of one of my musical heroes and a fellow native North Carolinian, Charlie Daniels, is beyond awesome!"
Russ Penuell lives in Nashville with his girlfriend, three dogs and a lot of music.