Even before his professional music career really took off, Billy Currington was always one to make the most of summer. When he was new in Nashville and working a day job to support his musical aspirations, he worked as a contractor, pouring concrete when the weather was warm.
With that kind of past, it’s not a surprise that he’s having more fun with the season now that he’s a country music star. His seemingly endless touring in support of his latest album, Summer Forever, goes on year ’round, but it’s the summer that suits Currington’s music best.
Growing up in Georgia
The seeds of his summertime party music were sown during his boyhood in Georgia, where he grew up first on sun-drenched Tybee Island, then inland in Rincon. His love of music caught fire when he started singing in church.
“I met this preacher when I was 17,” he said. “I heard about this church and just went there. They had a rocking little band. It just started happening so fast. The next thing you know I’m playing in a band, and the preacher is taking me to Nashville.”
The next year, when he turned 18 and could go where he wanted to go, he didn’t hesitate to head for Nashville again.
He took jobs working construction and doing personal training at a gym, but he spent his nights playing in bars and clubs as often as he could. It’s the tried-and-true method for making it in Music City. It worked for Currington right away.
“I was meeting all these songwriters,” he said. “That led me into singing everybody’s songs. I was doing 10 demos a day. Before you know it, I started getting deal offers from record labels.”
His debut album was released in 2003, and it delivered instant success with two top-10 singles, “Walk a Little Straighter” and “I Got a Feelin.”
His sophomore album served up his first number-one singles, “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” and “Good Directions.” He rounded out the decade with two more studio albums and a few more number-one singles.
Currington was obviously on a good path, and he and producer Carson Chamberlain were definitely on to something in the way they were putting together Currington’s album projects.
But while he was working on 2013’s We Are Tonight, he felt the need to shake things up a little.
“Carson is one of the greatest producers in Nashville,” he explained. “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.”
Calling Huff a magic man isn’t much of an exaggeration. As a producer, he’s worked with Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and many more. And his resume as a guitar player is even more impressive: it includes playing and recording with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Miles Davis, and pretty much every other superstar in every musical genre you can think of.
Currington worked with Huff again on 2015’s Summer Forever. The album produced three more top-10 singles — “Don’t It,” “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To,” and “Do I Make You Wanna” —and it set Currington off on a tour schedule that just keeps going and going.
Beginning with a stint with Tim McGraw in 2015, Currington has been on the road relentlessly. The June 20 date at the Clyde Theatre comes in the middle of a string of festival shows, and the dates don’t slow down until the fall.
Of course, all the touring means that Currington hasn’t had a lot of time to finish his long-anticipated next album, although a teaser single — “Bring It On Over” — dropped late last year. Until that new album is ready, fans will have to be content with Summer Forever.
Given that the album presents the essence of Currington’s attitude toward music and life, that shouldn’t be a problem.
“Summer Forever for me represents a positive, happy, good time lifestyle, and that’s what I hope the fans feel when they hear [it],” he said.
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December 27 • Clyde Theatre