Billy Currington was only 12 years old when he penned the chorus to what would become his very first single. “Walk a Little Straighter,” released in 2003, has a lot to do with Currington’s experience with an alcoholic father. That title track, in many ways, would also become a metaphor for the singer’s life, which has had a lot more ups than downs ever since in 2003 he landed a contract with Mercury Records.
A Georgia native, Currington was back and forth to Nashville while also holding down jobs for an actual company and working as a personal trainer. While he played gigs at clubs and various watering holes, he also found the time to cut demos. One of them was put on hold by singer Mark Wills, and would lead to Currington’s big break on the country music scene. “”””Walk a Little Straighter”””” would peak at No. 8 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, finally giving Currington a stronger hold in the industry.
Currington’s four albums have featured nine singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including six hits that made No.1, which are “Must Be Doin’ Something Right,” “Good Directions,” “People Are Crazy,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” and “Let Me Down Easy.” He was also on the charts as a duet partner with Shania Twain on the single, “Party For Two,” though the pop version released in Europe and remixed for clubs instead featured Mark McGrath.
The country crooner shut down his tour and sought treatment in late 2007, revealing first to Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper and later to a multitude of media outlets that he had endured more than a decade of abuse from his stepfather. The 30-day recovery period at Arizona’s Sierra Tucson led to an extended break in Hawaii, where he worked with therapists who specialized in childhood trauma. When he emerged it was to consecutive chart-topping singles and a new wave of success.
It should be a September to remember for Billy Currington. The singer/songwriter is slated to release a new album named “We Are Tonight” in September 2013 with Mercury Records. This will be his first album since “Enjoy Yourself” in 2010.
Currington’s lead single off the upcoming album, “Hey Girl,” in March was released to country radio. Plus there are some other surprises on the album, which was produced by Carson Chamberlain, Dann Huff and Shy Carter. They include Currington’s cover of Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes” and Willie Nelson singing on “Hard to be a Hippie.”
Though the back half of 2013 looks bright for Currington, the year has not been full of sunshine all the way. He was indicted by a Chatham County, the Georgia Grand Jury on April 24 on criminal charges of “abuse of an elder person by inflicting mental anguish” and “making terroristic threats.” Both charges came from an incident that involved a boat captain on April 15. After posting $27,700 bond, Currington was released from a Georgia jail, but faces a prison term of 1-5 years if convicted.
Currington is busy touring coast-to-coast this summer and into the fall, with dates currently booked through October. That includes stops at Webster Hall in New York City on September 5, the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on September 7 and the House of Blues in Boston on the 15th.