Every Scooter Carusoe song is a beautiful ambush. His genius sneaks up on you: you’re humming along to a melody you can’t get out of your head long before you realize there are layers to unpack and lines worth serious study.
The man behind No. 1 singles including Kenny Chesney’s “Anything but Mine” and “Better as a Memory” and Brett Eldredge’s “Mean to Me” eschews personal attention, but the songs Carusoe writes are instantly recognizable: revelations of beauty, hope, and heart sickness in mundane or tiny moments are his calling card.
A case in point: David Nail and Little Big Town’s delivery of Carusoe-penned “When They’re Gone (Lyle County)” lounges in subtle brilliance. As Nail croons, “Some things aren’t meant to last forever, but that don’t mean you forget them when they’re gone,” nostalgia is defined with gut-checking clarity. In Carusoe’s other work, lines like “I don’t see how you could ever be / Anything but mine” roll like conversation but capture truth like poetry.
Gary Allan’s launch into “Along the Way,” which he co-wrote with Carusoe and Odie Blackmon, is Carusoe at his best, vulnerable and devastating: “Scarecrows and devils are the only things out this late / What that says about me, it’s probably true / I’ve been carrying all these words around for too long and now it’s time to lay them down / I’m here for forgiveness, I need it from you.”
Established superstars and newcomers to watch all call on Carusoe for nuggets that are both radio-ready and smart. Chesney has turned to him for soulful smashes and deeper album cuts, while Carusoe has become a go-to co-writer for Eldredge, who’s become one of country music’s most promising new voices. In addition to Allen and Nail, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, Sugarland, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, Kristian Bush, Rodney Atkins, Pat Green, Eli Young Band, Levi Hummon, Chase Rice, Uncle Kracker, Casey James, Logan Brill, and many more have all recorded his songs as well.
Critic favorite Nail is one of Carusoe’s most frequent collaborators. Carusoe contributed songs to Nail’s acclaimed albums including I’m About to Come Alive, The Sound of a Million Dreams, and I’m a Fire. In addition to “When They’re Gone (Lyle County),” Carusoe penned “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” “Turning Home,” “Babies,” “Catch You While I Can,” “Follow Me,” “Again,” “Broke My Heart,” “Bronco,” “Clouds,” and more.
Today, the North Carolina-born, Knoxville, Tennessee-raised Carusoe lives in Nashville with his wife and two sons. Yes, Carusoe is a pen name, but his insistence on using it actually reveals a lot about who he really is: stubborn and inspiring, always fighting to keep the focus where it should be––the song.