The title of Billy Currington’s new album, Enjoy Yourself, says it all. “That’s what I want people to think about doing when they hear my music,” the happy-go-lucky Georgia native says. “I want them to have a good time.” And a good time is clearly what they’re having.
He’s garnered an impressive ten Top 10 hits, with six of those hitting No. 1 – “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “People Are Crazy,” ”Don’t,” “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” and “Good Directions.” He’s sold millions of albums and has been selected to tour with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Sugarland. Tour mate Carrie Underwood notes that Billy’s “talent and charm” have made crowds fall in love with him. He also received the compliment of a lifetime from David Letterman, who said about Billy’s “People Are Crazy” performance, “This song will change your life. You’re not going to do any better than this song here.”
His multiple nominations include two 2010 Grammy nominations (Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song) for “People Are Crazy,” which also received nominations 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. He was honored with a 2006 nomination for Top New Male Vocalist at the ACMS, which followed 2005 ACM and CMA nominations for “Party For Two,” his duet with Shania Twain.
He proudly claimed the “Hottest Video of the Year” trophy at the fan-voted 2006 CMT Music Awards for “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right.” Entertainment Weekly has praised his effortless charm, while the Associated Press says, “With Enjoy Yourself, he zeros in on an easy-going soul vibe, a sound that brings out a likeable quality in Currington’s Georgia-raised tenor.”
Despite his laid-back demeanor, Billy has earned a reputation as a hard-working entertainer who puts everything he’s got into his shows every night. He’s taken the stage several times at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the very facility that he helped build on his day job while pursuing his musical dreams. He’s still a working man who is drawn to exploring life’s simple truths and pleasures.
“With his rich tenor and relaxed delivery, Billy Currington knows how to put a tear in your beer,” Billboard says. ”Currington sings that he’s ‘not known for doing a lot,’ but he’s certainly found a way to do something that’s undeniably his own.”
Enjoy Yourself, Billy’s fourth album since he burst onto the scene in 2003, builds on the success of his 2008 collection, Little Bit of Everything, which yielded three No. 1 hits: “Don’t,” “People Are Crazy” and “That’s How Country Boys Roll.”
As with Little Bit of Everything, Billy’s latest features his now trademark mix of country, R&B and beach music. “It reflects who I am,” he says. “I’m definitely not just one thing. I’m the beach guy, I’m the country guy, I love my dirt roads and fishin’, but I love New York City and L.A. and Miami, too.”
The album is a perfect storm of material that Billy has been eyeing for just the right moment to release. “Some of these songs date back six to eight years,” he says. “There’s always a right time for everything.”
Finding the right song for the right album is a process in which Billy takes great pride. “I like to live with the songs I’m considering for an album. I like to go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and know I still love a song. If I still love it two years later, maybe other people will too.”
The album’s first single, “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer,” became Billy’s sixth No. 1 hit. Interestingly, he found that song on the same demo CD as “People Are Crazy.” “I knew I should only pick one beer song for my last album so I held on to ‘Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer.’ When it came time to record, that was the first one I threw up in the air. Everyone was in agreement that it was a good summertime, first single for an album.”
“Bad Day of Fishin’,” Billy’s songwriting contribution to the record, hilariously advances his theory that a bad day of fishin’ beats a good day of anything else.
The equally hilarious “Like My Dog,” includes the lyrics I want you to love me like my dog does. “It’s about a relationship with you and your dog and how you wish your woman would love you just as much and in the same ways,” Billy says with a grin.
But the album is more than songs about dogs and beer. “Until You,” which was written by Dave Barnes, is a love song pure and simple. “It’s got this great melody and simplified smart lyric about you and your girl out under the sky and overlooking the city at night, just enjoying each other’s company.”
The second single, “Let Me Down Easy,” is soulful and sexy, while “All Day Long” is “happy and kind of sexy,” according to Billy. “Nothing too serious.” There’s not a sad song on the set. Even “Love Done Gone,” a Louisiana-infused tune complete with trumpets and trombones, puts a positive spin on a break-up.
“It’s a good vibe album,” Billy explains. “I hope it’s one of those albums that someone can put in when they’re hanging out in their camp spot or they’re grilling out by their pool and just feel good through the whole thing.”
“I know people like sad songs, but they like happy songs more,” Billy believes. “It took me awhile to figure that out. Growing up I was a fan of all of Merle Haggard’s sad stuff and George Strait’s sad stuff—anybody that was singing sad songs. I thought that’s what I wanted to do.”
Turns out, it wasn’t. After feeling the air sucked out of the room when he played heartbreak songs in his otherwise electrifying live shows, Billy decided he’d leave the sad songs to someone else. “I don’t want to feel that way or make anyone else feel that way when they’re listening to my music. I want people to walk away feeling happy.”
“I can’t say I won’t ever record a sad song again, but you’ll mostly hear happy stuff from me from here on,” Billy notes with conviction. The album features Nashville’s top songwriters, including Troy Jones, Shawn Camp and Mark Nesler.
“This record was about recording songwriters’ songs,” says Billy. “I could have gone back and recorded a bunch of mine that I’ve written, but there were a lot of writers I wanted to record, like Shawn and Troy. I had to put their songs on this album.”
“I always go back to those same writers,” he adds. “They tend to keep writing the good ones.”
The album consists of what Billy has learned so far. “As an artist, I’ve gotten so much better all the way around. In the studio, live, playing the guitar and I’ve strengthened my voice. If you name anything I do musically, it’s gotten better with practice. I still have a lot to learn but I feel that like anything in life, you get better the more you do it.”
“I’m in a good place. I’m in a happy spot,” says Billy, who founded the Global South Relief organization to deliver supplies to those in need in Central American countries.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past five years, not only personally, but also as a businessman and an artist.”