Growing up in Rincon, country singer Billy Currington — who is slated to perform Saturday at the Georgia Mountains Center — spent his time playing football and hanging out on nearby Tybee Island.
Currington said his small hometown is nothing like his current surroundings in Nashville, Tenn.
"Nashville’s a, for me, it’s a big town, a big city, but it’s not as big as Atlanta or somewhere like that," Currington said.
"It’s kind of what we call a melting pot. There’s people from everywhere, because so many people are coming there to be artists or singers — whatever, different things, so you get to meet a lot of different types of people from all walks of lifestyles."
Country listeners might know one of Currington’s Nashville acquaintances, Canadian country queen Shania Twain.
Currington got an invitation to sing with Twain for the duo’s 2004 hit "Party for Two," which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Tracks chart.
The music video for "Party for Two" had Twain and Currington breaking dishes and swinging from a chandelier.
"It was two days shooting there out in London, England, and that last shot was about 4 o’clock in the morning, our very last shoot of that particular night," Currington said.
"They had that thing hanging from a tree, you know, somehow roped across two trees, and it worked out somehow. It was a lot of fun," he said.
The video gave Currington instant stardom, and what followed was years of hits any avid country music fan might know, including "Walk a Little Straighter," "Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right," and the country-fried "Good Directions."
Currington came back to Georgia to shoot photos in Savannah, 30 minutes west of Rincon, for his third album, "Little bit of EVERYTHING," due in mid-October. "Every time I go there I feel at home, so that’s kind of why they wanted to do it there, just to kind of get that hometown feel, and found a bunch of great locations that I’ve never been before," he said. "So it was great exploring the unknown that I didn’t get to as a child."
Currington said "Little bit of EVERYTHING" — like his other two albums, 2003’s "Billy Currington" and the platinum 2005 album, "Doin’ Somethin’ Right" — will reflect a variety of styles of music.
"I’d say the albums all seem like they kind of flow the same. There’s a little bit of all different types of music on there," he said. "There’s some R&B-type feeling songs, and there’s also some really country stuff on there, and there’s also some stuff on there that people would call pop. To me it’s just all good music. It just all kind of blends and reflects on who I am."
Currington grew up idolizing country greats such as Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson, like many country singers, but also lists Luther Vandross, soul singer Michael McDonald and rockers Def Leppard and AC/DC as influences.
"I explore it all, because that’s what I grew up on — just a little bit of every thing," Currington said.
Currington said he thinks fans will like one particular song on the new CD, "No One Has Eyes Like You."
"That’s one that stands out," he said of the song, one of four he wrote for the new album.
Currington began dabbling in songwriting when he was just 12 years old, when he started writing the lyrics of his breakout hit, "Walk a Little Straighter," which describes a young boy’s relationship with his alcoholic father.
"Walk a little straighter, Daddy/You’re swaying side to side/Your footsteps make me dizzy/And no matter how I try/I keep tripping and stumbling/If you’d look down here you’d see/Walk a little straighter, Daddy/You’re leading me"
"I actually just wrote the chorus, mostly kind of like a poem," said Currington, who drew from his relationship with an abusive stepfather to write the song.
"I finished it a couple of years before I recorded my first album, so the label loved it and decided they wanted to put it on the album. It was a song that I actually just wrote for the heck of it, just for myself, really, but they wanted to put it on there, so that actually became my first single," he said.
Because they come from such a personal place, listeners might think Currington would shy away from sharing private feelings with a worldwide audience, but the singer said that’s not the case.
"You know, when I write songs, I don’t think it’s difficult at all sharing personal feelings because that’s what songs are all about. The only way you can touch other people is to share things that you’ve experienced yourself, because more than likely they’ve experienced the same thing," Currington said.