Billy Currington isn’t afraid to admit it: He’s got a thing for warm weather. So when the famously laid-back Georgia singer came across a song called “Summer Forever,” it felt like natural fit for his new album.
In fact, it turned out to be the title track.
“For me it seems so fit for the way I live my life all throughout the year,” says Currington during a phone conversation with Radio.com. “I’m definitely in search of places that are warm, I’m not the biggest fan of cold weather.”
“Once I saw that [song] title, it seemed like the perfect fit for the album,” Currington continues. The other songs, “they just wrapped around that title.” Summer, he explains, “is happy and fun and all those things, and to me that’s what this album [is].”
Currington’s sixth album to date, Summer Forever hits stores June 2. Country fans, though, are already plenty familiar with at least one song from the album, “Don’t It,” which just topped the charts. Written by Jaren Johnston, Ashley Gorley and Ross Copperman, it’s Currington’s tenth No. 1 single to date.
The first time I heard ‘Don’t It,’ it was sent to me by a friend named Brian Wright. Brian has sent me a lot of songs in the past that I’ve had success on. Sure enough, on first listen I was sure it would be one of the first songs we would record. It just had that groove and…I’m a big fan of shuffles, which is what this song is. Yeah, man, just that groove.”
Currington’s producer on the album, Dann Huff, felt the same way. ” I immediately sent [‘Don’t It’] to Dann, and he wrote back the same feelings. ‘Let’s definitely go in and cut this.’ And that’s what we did.”
Among the most in-demand producers in Nashville right now, Huff was the chief producer on Summer Forever (Jesse Frasure shared duties on the title track).
“Dann Huff for sure is a magic man,” Currington says. “He’s amazing in the studio, and amazing out of the studio. Just a great person. And a talented musician. Not only guitar, but he’s great at drums, mandolin, I could go on and on. So being with a person that talented, he made it really easy.”
While several of the songs on Summer Forever have an unhurried groove that matches Currington’s relaxed Georgia drawl and beach-focused lifestyle, at the same time the album is musically diverse.
“It wasn’t deliberate, but I’m thankful it worked out that way,” Currington says of that diversity in sound, tempo, mood and style. “I was blessed to come from a lot of different backgrounds of music. My dad he played all the old Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson, and my mom played all like the AC/DC and Def Leppard. And then somehow on my own I found Luther Vandross and Patti LaBelle and people like that. So I think all those times spent listening to all that music growing up kinda filtered into this album.”
Currington says that the next single off Summer Forever will be Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem.”
“I’m excited about it. I definitely think a lot of people from small towns, they love their Friday nights, and they love their high school football. And they’ll definitely relate to this song.”
The subject is appealing, yes, but it’s also coupled with a melody that really draws you in. “I didn’t write the melody on this one, but I felt the same,” says Currington. “I think I’ll really enjoy singing this live.”
One song Currington did write on the new album is “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” The song was born out of a chance encounter between Currington, his buddy Shy Carter (who coproduced Currington’s previous album We Are Tonight) and “American Honey” songwriter Cary Barlowe.
“I remember I just started saying all the words that you hear in the beginning of the song,” Currington recalls. “They just started falling out. Shy was like, ‘What was that, man?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, it’s just coming out.’ So we wrote ’em down, and then I guess within an hour the song had basically written itself.”
“I’m really thankful,” Currington says of his spot on the McGraw tour. “I know I’m going to learn a lot from him.”
Summer Forever drops on June 2.
Summer Forever tracklist:
1. Don’t It
2. Drinkin’ Town With A Football Problem
3. Wake Me Up
4. Good Night (feat. Jessie James Decker)
6. Give It To Me Straight
7. It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To
8. Nowhere Town
9. Do I Make You Wanna
10. Sweet Love
12. Summer Forever