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.”
Keith Urban is scheduled to perform (and be interviewed) on Thursday night’s (March 5th) episode of the Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The show comes on at 11:35pm ET/PT.
Carrie Underwood is in the midst of her book tour for Finding Your Path and will chat about the book when she makes a stop by NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday (March 6th).
The Hot Country Knights will release a new song, “Moose Knuckle Shuffle” Thursday (K)night (March 5th). The song is from the band’s upcoming album, The K is Silent.
Doug has never been a stranger to taking things into his own hands. Moose Knuckle Shuffle is being RELEASED TONIGHT! pic.twitter.com/375Q8S7gZs
— Hot Country Knights (@countryknights) March 5, 2020
Little Big Town just released a VEVO exclusive stripped down live performance of their song, “Sugar Coat,” which is featured on their latest album, Nightfall.
Luke Bryan, Billy Currington, Jordan Davis, Jon Pardi, Caylee Hammack and Jon Langston will perform at this year’s Tortuga Music Festival. The three-day event, taking place April 17th-19th in Fort Lauderdale Florida, will also feature performances by Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Cole Swindell, Kelsea Ballerini, Barenaked Ladies, Vanilla Ice and many others. Tickets are available at TortugaMusicFestival.com.
“Hey! This is Billy Currington. Hope you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey, this is T.J., and I’m John, and we’re Brothers Osborne. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hi! I’m Carrie Underwood, wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day. Send me some chocolate.”
“Hey y’all! This is Caylee Hammack, wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“What’s up y’all? This is Darius Rucker, hoping you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey, it’s Dierks Bentley, hoping you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Eric Church, hoping you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey, this is Gary Allan, wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“This is George Strait, wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hi! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey! It’s Jordan Davis, hoping you have a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Josh Turner, and I want to wish you and your sweetheart a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hi, this is Kacey Musgraves, and I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. This is Keith Urban. Make the day special for your ‘Once in a Lifetime’ love.”
“Hey! What’s happening, everybody? This is Kip Moore. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Hey y’all, it’s Luke Bryan. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hey everybody. I’m Parker McCollum, wishing all the lovers out there a Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hi! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Hi, this is Shania Twain. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
This Sunday (February 2nd), millions of people around the world will be tuning in to the Super Bowl (the Big Game), including some of your favorite country artists. Some will be rooting for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, while others will be pulling for the Jimmy Garoppolo-led San Francisco 49ers.
Check out all the action at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida on Sunday at 6:30pm ET on FOX.
Adam Hambrick (Super Bowl 2020) OC: …tough to beat. :27
“I’ve got to say I’m a big fan of Pat (rick) Mahomes. He plays the game at a level of smoothness and a level of finesse that you just don’t see a lot. He roasted the Titans so I feel I’ve just got to go with Pat Mahomes. He’s just hard to beat. He doesn’t even need an offensive line, just create space with his feet — incredibly accurate thrower, incredibly accurate downfield thrower. He’s gonna be tough to beat.”
Adam Hambrick (Super Bowl snack) OC: …hit me up. :11
“One of my favorite party snacks is just give me a big ole bowl of guacamole and some of those Tostito’s hint of lime chips. Go ahead and give me that sponsorship. I’ll be waiting. Hit me up.”
Billy Currington (football fan) OC: …love football. :36
“I’m a big football fan. I mean, when I was growing up, if you asked me who my favorite team is now, I couldn’t tell you. But when I was a kid, it was the Dallas Cowboys. And I don’t know if it was because my mom bought my brother a Pittsburgh Steelers pennant for some reason, and bought me a Dallas Cowboys pennant, and of course over the year I fell in love with the Cowboys, and then I wanted a jersey the next Christmas, and then the next one, I wanted [more Cowboys stuff]. So, I became a long-term fan with those guys. But I like it all now that I’m older. I’ll watch any game, it doesn’t matter who’s playing. But [I] love football.”
Brandon Lay (Super Bowl 2020) OC: …Super Bowl. :14
“Man, I really don’t have a dog in the fight since the Chiefs took out my Titans, but I just don’t see how the 49ers are gonna score enough points to keep up with what the Chiefs got going on, so that’s my pick for the Super Bowl.”
Darius Rucker (football) OC: …football season. :20
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve loved football, and I love how physical it is. I love the chess match of the game. I love the speed of the game. I love college football, but for me watching pro football is better because the speed is so much more. For me, there’s two times a year, man — football season and waiting for football season.”
Jon Pardi (Super Bowl 2020) OC: …two great teams. :52
“It was really cool to go on the football field when you’ve got everybody from the head guy of the NFL and you’ve got Jerry Rice out there running around. It was really cool, and then we got to go watch the game in a really nice suite and thank you 49ers — they were awesome. It was just really cool, and to see them go to the Super Bowl at Levy Stadium, which is a very nice stadium. It was awesome. I grew up playing football and it was always the 9ers, you know? Like we looked up to those guys. I looked up to the 49ers. It was like our local team, and I guess i just never lost that spark from when they went to the Super Bowl. I think the game’s going to be great. The Chiefs are tough, and the Chiefs is another one…the Chiefs haven’t been in a Super Bowl in a long time either, so this is gonna be an all-out war of football (laughs) which is gonna be a great Super Bowl, and we’re gonna get a great Super Bowl from two great teams.”
Jordan Davis (Super Bowl 2020) OC: …Super Bowl. :12
“Hey, it’s Jordan Davis, and I’m pumped for Super Bowl Sunday, and the Saints aren’t in it, so I am going to be cheering for the Kansas City Chiefs. So, let’s go Patrick Mahomes and yeah, go win a Super Bowl.”
Keith (Nicole and football) OC: …new to me. :04
“She’s a big NFL fan, and she sort of turned me on to it.”
Lauren Alaina (Super Bowl) OC: …I love it. :30
“My dad raised me to love football, so I think it’s like kind of in my blood to be obsessed with it. I feel like the guys are so passionate and they try so hard. Those people love playing that game as much as I love singing. I just love the heart and the drive and the passion behind it. I feel like those boys are playing as hard as they can – in college football and pro football – because it’s what they love to do and it’s their passion, and I just, I don’t know. I love it.”
Lauren Alaina (Super Bowl foods she wishes she could eat) OC: …with cheese? (laughs) :30
“Gosh, let’s see cheese dip. I would really like some cheese dip in my life again. Um, I’m a big fan of wings and hot dogs and pizza and cheesecake and poppers and cheese sticks and cheese, anything that has to do with cheese. Did you realize everything I named besides the wings, which you dip in blue cheese, had to do with cheese?” (laughs)
LBT (Super Bowl 2020) OC: (Phillip) …win this game. :29
JIMI: “This game is gonna be fun. Of course, my team is the Tennessee Titans, so I don’t have quite the heart connection that I do with these two teams. (Phillip: “I like Mahomes though.”) But I’m excited because I think it’s gonna be a great game. They match up very interestingly, and I think it’s gonna be fun to watch. I don’t think anybody’s gonna stop Mahomes, though. Shew. The 49er defense, they are for real.” PHILLIP: “If you can pick apart the 49er defense, you can win this game.”
LBT (football story) OC: …my lip. :40
“I was the quarterback to my powder puff team. I was running the ball and I came around the corner – this was in high school – and a foreign exchange student, I think her name was Inga (KIMBERLY: “Inga.”), and I didn’t want to fumble ‘cause my brother and my dad were there, and I come from this very athletic family, so I held onto the ball. I knew I was going to go down, so I let my head hit first and I bit all the way through, but I didn’t fumble and I had a hole in my face, though. The sad thing is that it was just flag football, but I left my flags on and cleats and everything, ‘cause it looked cool, and I had blood running all down my jersey. I went to the emergency room like that, and they sewed up my lip.”
Luke Bryan (Super Bowl food) OC: …over again. :22
“Definitely Super Bowl is like the queso, the Frito Lay scoops with the Ro-tel situation. I guess it’s like, what’s the black-eyed pea stuff too? All of that, just stuff that you can sit there and have lots of sodium, and then just, it’s like Thanksgiving all over again.”
Sam Hunt (Super Bowl 2020) OC: …one for the books, for sure. :35
“I think it’s gonna be exciting. It’s like the new generation Super Bowl almost. The quarterbacks are great. I really like that Mahomes guy. I mean he represents a whole new era of quarterback. The game has changed a lot over the years, and it is, it’s exciting to see two teams…I like watching great offenses. I like quarterbacks who throw the ball around, score lots of points, and these two teams do that. They’ve got a lot of exciting players. So, I think this one’s gonna be one for the books, for sure.”
Sam Hunt (Super Bowl & music) OC: …combined there. :24
“It’s become such a massive pop culture event, and I love that they’ve incorporated music and entertainment with the sport itself and the entertainment value that comes from that. It encompasses just a strong representation of American culture, and I’m a huge music fan, obviously, and I’m a huge sports fan, so those are two of my favorite worlds combined there.”