For some, fall means back to school. For others, back to work. For Billy Currington, it’s back to doing what he does best as one of contemporary country’s most reliable good ‘ol boys. And he doesn’t disappoint on “We Are Tonight,” ten strong new songs featuring his trademark earthy tenor of a voice.
Currington’s fifth album maintains an energy and flow — slower numbers included — that make you want to give it another spin as soon as it’s over. In part, “We Are Tonight” works so well because for the first time, Currington enlisted multiple producers which, rather than making for a disjointed listen, together were able to create a collection that sounds like hits played back-to-back on the radio. “It wasn’t planned, but just kind of happened that way,” Currington explains, and fate definitely pointed him in the right direction.
The smart sequencing also keeps the pace lively, kicking off the album with three uptempo numbers in a row. First single “Hey Girl” leads the charge, a Top 25 toe-tapper that explodes into wailing guitars in the bridge. The horns and humorous lyrics of “Wingman” follow, then “One Way Ticket” turns down the very modern sound and cranks up the twanging guitars, harmonies and a decidedly more traditional country delivery from Currington.
In fact, every time it seems Currington’s lost sight of his Georgia roots, he makes sure to return to them, whether on ”Ticket,” the soulful lament of “Another Day Without You,” or the great picking and clever lyrics of his jaunty duet with Willie Nelson, “Hard To Be a Hippie.”
But this Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling artist knows what fans want to hear, and so the title track revs up into an all-out stadium rocker, while “Closer Tonight” is an irresistible country-pop singalong. Ballad “23 Degrees And South” — already a favorite at Currington’s concerts — creates a more intimate mood and for good reason, as this ocean-loving surfer reveals: “It’s about Key West, and I go there quite often. Everything about the song explains my life down there.”
What fans might be surprised by is the cut Currington chose to end the album, “Hallelujah.” With its R&B styling, vamping organ and gospel feel, it’s a quirky departure from the rest of the collection — and a fitting way to show how this good ol’ boy can still mix things up enough to keep you wondering what he’ll do next.