If ever there was a festival tailor-made for Billy Currington, it’s Tortuga Music Festival, which returns for its fourth year on April 15th – 17th. Currington, currently promoting his single “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To,” previously played the festival in 2014 and it instantly became one of his favorites of the year.
“It’s right on the beach, people are just having a great time,” he tells Rolling Stone Country. “It goes on for days. The backstage setup is perfect, the way they set the stage up out there on the beach is perfect. It’s a top 5.”
Held on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Tortuga Music Festival also helps promote ocean conservation and marine research. Artists scheduled to perform over the weekend include Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, A Thousand Horses, Thoms Rhett, Cam, Kip Moore and many others.
To get in the beach festival mood, Currington has compiled a list of his 10 favorite summer tunes. Encompassing everything from reggae to George Strait, it should pair well with a cold beer or tropical cocktail when the days get hot.
Ziggy Marley, “Beach in Hawaii”
I was in Maui, Hawaii, a few years back and Ziggy played one night at this place called the M.A.C.C. — it’s an outdoor venue in Maui. The song he ended on was this “Beach in Hawaii.” Everybody went crazy. It was one of them feel good songs. I always said I’m gonna learn that song one day, ’cause it works so well.
UB40, “Red Red Wine”
The first time I heard that song, I was young — teenage years. I can remember we had this place in Springfield, Georgia, which was the next town over from where I was living. We had what was called a “square route,” where after the football games people would ride down the main road in Springfield, which is like a small, small town. And you’d go up to where the tennis courts were and you’d make your square turn around and you’d get back on the road, go about a half a mile to the 7-Eleven and that’s where you’d turn around again, just constantly going past each other. But that’s my memory of “Red Red Wine” — blasting that song, and hearing everyone else blast that song down that road over and over.
Bob Marley, “One Love”
What a songwriter that guy was, a melody genius. Every party you go to, every beach type concert you go to, someone’s playing that song. It’s one of those songs that will be around forever and ever and it will always make me happy.
Jason Mraz, “I’m Yours”
He may have recorded that twice, because when he finally hit with that song, I was like, “Man, I’ve known this song for years!” So I’ve still yet to figure that out. But it’s another one of those happy songs.
The Beach Boys, “Surfin’ Safari”
My mom had a huge collection of the 33 1/3 records. That was one of them that she had. While I was combing those records as a kid, that was one I ran across that I instantly was connected to. Of course, growing up on an island and on a beach, it was perfect for me to just listen to over and over. I’m still a big fan.
Bryan Adams, “Summer of ’69”
Oh man, that guy, his vocals are just amazing. I got to work with [producer] Mutt Lange one time so I heard stories, how all that came about. It’s pretty interesting. I’ve always been a Bryan Adams fan but that one that was… if it has the word “summer” in it, I’m naturally connected and drawn to those words and songs.
Don McLean, “American Pie”
That’s another song I’ve heard for years and years, but it was when that commercial came out, and the guy was sitting in his car at the beach and he was playing that song. He had to go, he had to get out of the car, but he wasn’t leaving his car until the very end of that song. That just reminded me of that song and I went and downloaded it and I still play the heck out of that one.
Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
That was in the same era as “Red Red Wine.” I remember those two coming out somewhere in the same time. That same drive I was taking after the football games, I remember blasting that same song, almost back to back, to “Red Red Wine.” Great era for music back then.”
Willie Nelson, “Shoeshine Man”
There’s a YouTube video of Willie Nelson on his bus and he’s singing that song. But he’s recording himself with his laptop, the little camera. If you want to see Willie Nelson being like, “I don’t care, I’m just Willie Nelson, I’m having a great time,” check that video out. It’s so funny.”
George Strait, “Blame It on Mexico”
I first heard “Blame it on Mexico” on George Strait’s box set. I don’t think it was ever a single, I just remember hearing the song going, “Man, I don’t know why I never heard the song before.” But it was one that I played and played and played again. It’s an awesome song. George Strait could sing the phonebook.