Great, Good, Crazy

For country music singer Billy Currington, being a true Southerner has nothing to do with coordinates or state lines. Quickly dismissing mega-cities like Atlanta and even Nashville, the home of country music, he says the soul of the South lies in a certain spirit—and the distance you have to drive to dip your toes into the water. Billy Currington is officially a country superstar; you can tell by his voice. It’s low and deep and a little gritty. It has soul, a hint of pain, and a bona fide Southern drawl, the kind no one can fake or mask, no matter how hard they try. But it also has the confidence that comes from thousands, if not millions, of screaming fans who follow his every move and the fact that his touring partners include Carrie Underwood and Kenny Chesney. Another, and possibly the most telling, sign that he’s not a flash-fry country star is his modesty. He’s a good ol’ country boy from Rincon, Georgia, after all, and spent much of his free time splashing around on the beaches of Tybee Island just trying to catch a wave.

South magazine: You just finished touring with your new album. How are people responding to the CD? Are they connecting with the music?

Billy Currington: Oh yeah. I can definitely tell who has bought the album because the songs they’re singing on set; there’s no way they could’ve heard them unless they got the album. So it’s cool to hear them singing along.

SM: It is a very upbeat album. I bet it’s a fun show.

BC:’s the kind of album I’ve been wantin’ to make for a little while. Nothing sad. Just all really happy and makin’ people have fun and feel good.

SM: And when you’re not on tour, I hear you’re often on the water, right?

BC:Yeah, I’ve always been fond of the ocean, all my life. Ever since I was 3 years old, I’ve been trying to surf or doing something to ride a wave. Now that I’m older, I’ve been going to Hawaii, surfin’ a lot over there. So, yeah, paddleboarding, fishin’, I like it all.

SM: And you learned to love the ocean by growing up right here in this area?

BC: Yeah. I lived on Tybee Island first. My dad was a dredge boat worker and he was dredging the inlets. Then we moved inland to Rincon and I got a taste of dirt roads and no red lights in town, which was a great way to grow up. I had the best of both worlds. I had Savannah and Rincon and the islands. Fond memories there, out fishin’ with my granddad.

SM: Do you make it back down here a lot?

BC:I don’t make it back down there as much as I’d like to, but I’m movin’ back down to Georgia eventually.

SM: That’s good to hear. Everyone in Savannah is going to be happy to hear that.

BC:Yeah, I’m going back, close to home. I moved away back in 1992 when I graduated high school. I didn’t really want to move away from home, but I knew I had to go where the music was. And I still kind of feel like I’m just getting started in this business, but I’ve got my foot in enough to where I can pretty much live where I want to now.

Photos by Kate Powers