Billy Currington has come a long way from working construction and living in a tiny attic apartment during his early days in Nashville. In the decade since he made his debut with the top ten hit “Walk a Little Straighter,” the Georgia native has parlayed his rich, emotion-laden tenor and unerring song sense into some of the country format’s most memorable hits, including such No. 1s as “We Are Tonight,” “Hey Girl, “Good Directions,” “Must Be Doin’ Something Right” and “People Are Crazy.”
Currington’s songs have always been snapshots of life. His music is steeped in truth and possesses a relatability that makes his audience feel like they could drink a beer or catch a few fish with the curly-haired country boy. Currington has that heartfelt everyman quality that lends emotional weight to whatever he’s singing whether it’s a tender ballad or a rollicking party anthem. He demonstrates his ability to render both those scenarios and all points between on his fifth studio album We Are Tonight.
Led by the fast-climbing No. 1 single “Hey Girl,” We Are Tonight is filled with songs that evoke both wistful reflection and boisterous revelry with equal conviction. Throughout the collection, Currington exudes the easy going charm that has become his trademark yet also possesses a maturity and confidence that comes from a decade of churning out hits and earning accolades. He won the “Hottest Video of the Year” honor at the fan-voted CMT Music Awards for “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” in 2006, the same year he received an ACM nod for Top New Male Vocalist. His hit duet with Shania Twain, “Party For Two,” earned nominations from both the CMA and ACM, and “People Are Crazy” proved to be a career-defining hit that earned Grammy nominations for Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song in addition to being nominated for Single and Song of the Year from the Academy of Country Music, as well as Single, Song and Video of the Year from the Country Music Association.
Currington could have continued in the same hit-making groove he had established with producer Carson Chamberlain, yet on We Are Tonight he steps out of his comfort zone. “This album is the first time that I ever worked with three different producers,” says Currington, who again partnered with Chamberlain and also engaged Dann Huff and Shy Carter. “Carson is one of the greatest producers in Nashville. I still enjoy making music with him and always will, but there were a couple of songs that I didn’t feel like fit Carson and I. So I called on Dann Huff, one of the magic men in Nashville. He’s a great producer, great guitar player and he just fit a couple of the songs perfectly.”
Currington was introduced to Carter by his former landlord. “He ended up living in their attic after I did and that’s how we met,” he says of Carter, who has collaborated with Nelly, Ashanti, Rob Thomas and co-wrote Sugarland’s No. 1 hit “Stuck Like Glue.” Currington decided to pay a visit to Carter in Los Angeles and wound up recording the final track for We Are Tonight, a quirky, up-beat love song titled “Hallelujah.” “Shy started laying down the beat and we started putting some guitars to it and by six o’clock the next morning we were done with the song,” Currington relates. “I put it at the end of the album because I thought the energy in the song and everything about it would be perfect to end the record.”
Carter joins Currington on the clever “Banana Pancakes.” “That was written by Jack Johnson, one of my favorite singer/songwriters,” Currington says. “It’s such a great laid back song. We recorded it and then I started thinking about background harmonies so Shy came in. He and Karyn Rochelle put the harmonies on. And if you listen to the end of ‘Banana Pancakes,’ it’s got a rap to it that Shy just laid down out of the blue. He didn’t write it or think about it or anything. He just walked up to the mic and said what it says and that’s how we got that.”
Currington cites “Hey Girl” as one of his favorite songs he’s ever recorded. “I was drawn to that song because of the amped up energy it has,” he says. “It was written by a couple of friends of mine, Rhett Atkins being one. I love that guy and he’s from Georgia. I always wanted to record one of his songs. He’s one of the first concerts I ever went to in Nashville. When I got the song and I had a choice. I could choose any producer out there to work this song. I thought Dann Huff would be perfect for this song, and he was. You hear that guitar in it. You hear the power of the drums. Everything about that recording – I’ll take a little credit, not much – but Dann Huff is the reason.”
“Hard to Be a Hippie” is a song that Currington discovered when he was surfing You Tube and ran across an acoustic performance by his pal Scotty Emerick. “I saw the great fan reaction and it’s a song I couldn’t get out of my head,” Currington says. “I called him up and I’m like, ‘Man, you’ve got to send me that Hippie song.’ My first thought when I was listening to the demo was this would be perfect to record with Willie Nelson. I mentioned it to Scotty and he’s like ‘Well I know Willie pretty good’ so he mentioned it to Willie and I ended up meeting Willie on his bus one afternoon. We played it for him and he was in. We went to Texas and recorded his vocal and that’s how ‘Hard to Be a Hippie’ came about.”
The anthemic title track is the first tune Huff sent Currington after the two agreed to work together. “I listened to it 20 times,” Currington says excitedly. “About the third time, I called Dann saying, ‘Man, count me in!’ I couldn’t wait. I was really, really antsy to get in the studio with this song. There was something about it. I knew he would bring a really amped up production on it and make it sound like it was in an arena or stadium. And he did. It came out exactly like I wanted it to.”
“Wingman” is a fun up tempo tune about barroom camaraderie gone awry when the wingman actually steals the girl and takes her home. Currington’s personality-packed delivery makes each track on We Are Tonight a memorable event. Among the album’s many highlights is “23 Degrees and South,” a tune that has already become a fan favorite in his live shows. “It sounds like a song that I could have written because it’s so much about me,” says Currington. “It’s about Key West and I go there quite often. I’ve spent so many days in the sunshine down there fishing and spear fishing, paddle boarding and just being a part of Key West. Everything about ‘23 Degrees and South’ explains my life and down there.”
The sea is in Currington’s soul and is a constant presence in his life and music. The Georgia born artist spent his early years on Tybee Island before his family moved inland to Rincon. He recalls his parents playing vinyl records by Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kenny Rogers. His mom took him to see Rogers in concert when he was 10 and it proved to be a pivotal moment. “It was there that night I remember thinking, ‘man I’d love to be that guy. I’d love to be doing this,’” says Currington. “It was an amazing show, the energy in there and everything about it I never forgot.”
Like many country entertainers, Currington began singing in church. “I met this preacher when I was 17. I heard about this church and just went there. They had a rocking little band,” Currington remembers. The preacher invited him to sing the next week and Billy made quite an impression. Some of his musician friends from church asked him to sing with their band and then had to sneak the underage singer into clubs to perform. “It just started happening so fast,” he says. “The next thing you know I’m playing in a band and the preacher is taking me to Nashville.”
After that introductory visit, Currington decided Nashville was where he needed to be. He moved at 18 and began paying dues. He poured concrete and worked as a personal trainer at a gym during the day and played in bars at night. He began writing songs and singing on demos. “I was meeting all these songwriters. That led me into singing everybody’s songs. I was doing 10 demos a day,” he says. “Before you know it, I started getting deal offers from record labels.”
Currington signed with Mercury Records and released his self-titled debut in 2003. His first single, “Walk a Little Straighter,” quickly established Currington as a singer/songwriter of depth and substance. The song peaked at No. 8 and he followed with “I Got A Feelin,’” which became his first top five. From there, the hits continued as his sophomore album Doin’ Somethin’ Right spawned his first No. 1 with “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” and his second No. 1 with “Good Directions.” Released in 2008, his third album, Little Bit of Everything, featured five songs co-written by Currington. The Bobby Braddock/Troy Jones penned “People Are Crazy” became his third No. 1 and he followed that with a song he co-wrote, “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” which also hit the top of the charts. In September 2010 Currington released Enjoy Yourself, which included the No. 1 hits “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” and “Let Me Down Easy.”
We Are Tonight finds Billy Currington in peak form. The songs are sometimes whimsical, often poignant and always compelling. Seasoned by time and peppered with experience, his distinctive voice has never sounded better and he’s a young man who appreciates the road he’s traveled. He’s humbled by the successes of his past yet always looking forward. “It’s like you work so many years to get it and you finally got it,” says Currington, who once again makes his home on Tybee Island. “I feel so blessed.”
LINER Billy Currington (Labor Day)
Hey y’all! It’s Billy Currington, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Brandon Lay (Labor Day)
Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Brothers Osborne (Labor Day)
This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Carrie Underwood (Labor Day Weekend)
Hey everyone! I’m Carrie Underwood, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Clare Dunn (Labor Day)
Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, and I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Darius Rucker (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Darius Rucker, and I hope you have a have a happy work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Eric Church (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Eric Church, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Eric Paslay (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Eric Paslay, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Jon Pardi (Labor Day weekend)
Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Jordan Davis (Labor Day)
Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Kacey Musgraves (Labor Day weekend)
Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Keith Urban (Labor Day weekend)
Hi everybody! This is Keith Urban, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Kip Moore (Labor Day)
Hey—what’s happening guys? This is Kip Moore, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day Weekend.
LINER LBT (Labor Day)
Hi! We’re Little Big Town, hoping you have a work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Luke Bryan (Labor Day)
Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
LINER Maddie & Tae (Labor Day)
Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Sam Hunt (Labor Day)
Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Have a great and work-free Labor Day weekend.
LINER Travis Denning (Labor Day)
Hey y’all. It’s Travis Denning, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.
Several artists will perform during Independence Day celebrations. Keith Urban will take part in the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, along with Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Ricky Martin, which will be broadcast July 4th at 8pm ET on NBC.
Carrie Underwood will headline the Fourth of July Hot Country Live event, launching Spotify’s new live concert series based on the streaming services Hot Country Playlist. It will take place at the Seaport’s Rooftop at Pier 17 concert venue.
Lady Antebellum will headline the free July 4th concert in downtown Nashville. The “Let Freedom Sing” concert event will also feature performances by Chris Janson and Lucie Silvas. Following the show, there will be a 30-minute fireworks show, which is touted as one of the biggest in the country and will be synchronized to a live performance from the Nashville Symphony.
Lauren Alaina will perform during A Capitol Fourth, an annual Independence Day special on PBS. Luke Combs will also perform. A Capitol Fourth, hosted by John Stamos, will air live from the West Lawn of the White House on July 4th at 8pm ET on PBS.
AJ (fave 4th of July memory) OC: …very cool. :58
Well, this one is hard to beat. A couple of years ago, maybe longer than that now, I had an old boat in Florida. It’s like an old antique motor yacht, and it was kind of a cool old boat. I had taken that boat, I’ve always wanted to take it up north like to New York and up in that area, up in the northeast where it’s so pretty. So, we took the boat up there and Denise and the girls, we all went up. They like going to New York City, which I don’t really care about going to the city. So, I got to stay in my boat there at the harbor tied up, which was cool anyway. So they spent time in the city a few days and then that was Fourth of July, and we went out in the Hudson River that night and they shot the fireworks off and we were anchored out in front of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks were going off sitting on that boat. That was the coolest thing and my girls still talk about that. I mean, that was the coolest thing on Fourth of July I can ever remember. I can’t top that one probably. It was emotional sitting there watching the Statue of Liberty and thinking about all that. It was very cool.”
Billy Currington (4th of July) OC: …of my life. :16
“My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”
Brandon Lay (Fourth of July) OC: …good times. :47
“I remember everybody hanging out at my grandmother’s and we would drive down the road to a fireworks stand off the side of Highway 45 out there in Jackson [Tennessee]. Just getting the bottle rockets and Black Cats and bringing ‘em back to the house, it felt like it was an eternity before it got dark. We just kept wanting to light ‘em and our parents would tell us it ain’t time, but just how exhilarating it was to see ‘em shoot up. We’re not talking big time fireworks here, but you would’ve thought that it was. It’s funny just how you remember things, but I just remember a screen door at my grandmother’s, running in and out, in and out, in and out and four wild little cousins running around. It was good times.”
Clare Dunn (Fourth of July) OC: …with your family. 1:12
“Fourth of July is probably one of the biggest memories for me, because it’s always during harvest time. And harvest time, being a farmer, is your most important time of the year. It’s always nine-o. It’s always busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, but we always go into town, depending on what field we’re at. A lot of my memories are South Grenada, Colorado, we farm just south of that town, and we go into town and get Mexican food, a great Mexican food place called Shorty’s, and we get tostados and enchiladas and we take them back out to the field. And everybody stops for a second and we eat on the hoods or the tailgates of pickups, and we’re just all out there in the field taking a brief moment to eat dinner and then get back to cutting. And if you’re lucky you’ll see some fireworks from town. Those are some of my favorite memories growing up because you’re all out there working. You’re together, and it’s just the moment of pride, of getting the harvest in and getting to be with your family.”
Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
“Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”
Dierks (people are America) OC: …all about. :17
“The definition of America to me, you know, getting a chance to travel across the country on a tour bus, stepping upon stages whether it be county fairs, state fairs, arenas, rock bars, the Opry stage, anywhere across the country and looking out at that crowd and seeing people. The people, to me, are what America’s all about.”
Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
“The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”
Jordan Davis (Fourth of July) 2 OC: …really cool. :17
“Probably baseball games, firework shows at baseball games. We’d go to Shreveport Captains games, so yeah, we’d do that or barbecues and fireworks. I can remember being on the lake for a couple of Fourth of Julys. We’d take the boat out and we’d watch the downtown fireworks show from the boat, which was really cool.”
Josh Turner (fireworks) OC: …of money. [laughs] :20
“Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]
Keith Urban (coming to America 1st time) OC: …as I could. :39
“1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I was shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”
Lady A (4th of July-Hillary) OC: …on my hand. :29
“For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”
Lady A (Fourth of July-Dave) OC: …and America. :45
“July fourth is always, for me, my birthday week. My birthday is July 5th so we grew up going on family trips to the beach. We would always go to Hilton Head, South Carolina and always take trips for my birthday, so that’s always a fun time of the year…watch fireworks. I think my best memory would be my birthday party when I was 9 or 10 years old. We went to the batting cages and I remember I was swinging so hard, it was 100 degrees outside, I was swinging in the batting cage and ended up passing out right there in the batting cage. You’re trying so hard to hit the ball, you’re a kid and you really don’t realize how much water you should be drinking and [CHARLES: “Dave was that kid.”] I was that kid who was on the ground in the batting cage, people fanning and pouring water all over my face. Happy Birthday to me and America.”
LBT (military) OC: (Karen) …whenever we can. (Kimberly: “Yeah.”) :22
“It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)
Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
“Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”
Maddie & Tae (Fourth of July) OC: …it’s perfect. :29
TAE: “One of my favorite Fourth of July traditions – I’d say it’s a tradition ‘cause it happens every year, but I’m not always able to make it – is that we go to my grandparents in Oklahoma, and we all line up lawn chairs right in front of their garage and we just light fireworks. We always do it far away and then we light it, and we always run back and watch the fireworks, but that’s probably one of my favorite memories.” MADDIE: “My birthday is July 7th, so I always get built-in fireworks for my birthday, and sometimes we actually celebrate it on the 4th, because there’s fireworks everywhere, so it’s perfect.”
Sam Hunt (Fourth of July) OC: …good time. :39
“My granddad on the other side of my family, he would always take a lot of pride…fireworks were actually, I’m from Georgia, and most of them were illegal, I’m pretty sure, growing up. But over in Alabama, that’s where all the firework stands were, and we only had to drive 10, 15 minutes to get to the Alabama line, so we could go get a bundle of fireworks pretty easy. But he would always take a lot of pride in going and finding all the good stuff, and coming back with a big pile. He’d have his torch out there at the end of the driveway and we’d all eat homemade ice cream and put down towels on the driveway and he’d shoot off fireworks for 30-45 minutes. Such a good time.”
Travis Denning (Fourth of July) OC: …will love. :51
“Fourth of July in Warner Robins, Georgia is an event. It’s something else. In fact, forever they’ve thrown an Independence Day concert, and back in the day, it was huge. It was the biggest thing they did all year. They would actually have the concert in the MAC (McConnell-Talbert Stadium), which was the high school football stadium that Warner Robins and Northside and Houston County shared. I mean, one year they had Wynonna play and then they had Josh Turner one year, Darius Rucker. I mean it was like a big deal, and there’d be 15,000, 20,000 people there, and I think it’s so cool that there’s a little bit of a legacy of people coming together in that town and making something happen, you know? I’ll never forget going to those shows and thinking, I was more proud of what the city had done. I was like, ‘That’s just so cool that they could put together a show like this, an event that everybody will love.”
“Hey! This is Alan Jackson, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July.”
“Hey guys! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“What’s up, everybody? This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey y’all! I’m John, and I’m TJ, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey y’all, what’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a very, very happy Fourth of July!”
“Happy Birthday, America!”
Hey everybody! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a Happy and safe Fourth of July.
“Hey this is Eric Church, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Eric Paslay, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Gary Allan. Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hi, it’s Jon Pardi, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Fourth of July!”
“Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae and we’re Maddie & Tae, wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a safe and Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey y’all! It’s Travis Denning, wishing you a safe and Happy Fourth of July.”