Billy Currington on His Lost Songs and Staying Mellow - Rolling Stone
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Billy Currington on His Lost Songs and Staying Mellow

Singer’s latest release “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” was almost banished to a computer hard drive

Billy CurringtonBilly Currington

Billy Currington will launch his Summer Forever Tour with Kelsea Ballerini on February 19th.

Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic

Billy Currington may want to start making a note every time he feels some magic in the writing room.

The singer, whose Summer Forever Tour with Kelsea Ballerini launches on February 19th in San Antonio, had actually forgotten about the existence of his latest single “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” before he was recording his album Summer Forever. Currington originally wrote the song with Shy Carter and Cary Barlowe in between studio sessions with producer Dann Huff, essentially blurt-singing the part-optimistic, part-heartbroken tune on the fly. They were finished in less than two hours.

“It was just something magical that never happens to me in the songwriting world that easy and that fast. It was a blessing,” says Currington, who notes that he frequently finds older songs he’s written lurking on his computer hard drive. “And maybe the fact that it did it that way was the reason I never played the song for anyone. I basically put it on the shelf and just moved on.”

But then his manager called, having obtained a file of the song, and insisted that “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” (hear it below) be included on the album that became Summer Forever. Upon listening again, Currington realized he’d sold the tune short.

It’s not the first time Currington has done that with one of his own songs, either. His second single “I Got a Feelin'” was written with Carson Chamberlain and Casey Beathard and quickly completed. Currington says while they were writing he wasn’t sure how he felt about the song’s message.

“I got up and said, ‘You know what boys? This is too much lovey-dovey stuff for me. Let’s come back and write a man song,'” he recalls. “They said, ‘Boy, you can go write a man song if you want — we gonna finish ‘I Got a Feelin’.’ I decided I better finish it. But that was another song that I didn’t think nothing of it until it was complete and sent back to me like, ‘Hey, you need to think about this.’ The song went on to become a Top 5 hit. 

But that all kind of rolls into Currington’s remarkably chill outlook. He’s undoutedbly got a mountain of pressure on him to bring in the hits (at 10 Number One songs, he’s one of country’s quietest big achievers), make new records and go on tour, but he tends to take it all in stride. That’s not to say he’s been perfect — a quick online search will reveal a 2013 boating incident that sent him to anger management — but his subdued presence of late fits into the larger picture of him trying to maintain harmony in a notoriously volatile business. 

“I think as I got older the mellow side of me felt best,” says Currington. “I guess as I became aware of this I concentrated more on trying to stay that way as much as possible and just keep it mellow, keep it low-profile. And I think it works for me.”

It certainly hasn’t hurt when it comes to harnessing  magic in the writing room, either.


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