“There’s only four or five sentiments to me that really work out there in songs,” Billy Currington says.
“Songs that make you dance, songs that make you want to make love, songs that break your heart but offer hope,” he told me recently. “I could go on, but this song has that one.”
Indeed it does. Currington’s new single “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” is the perfect mix of heartbreak and hope, along with a driving beat and melody that moves the song forward.
But the track almost didn’t happen.
“We wrote this song kind of accidentally,” Currington confessed of the tune co-written with Grammy-nominated hitmaker Cary Barlowe (who’s written hits for Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch and Florida Georgia Line) and Shy Carter (the talent behind such hits as Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue,” Currington’s “Hallelujah” and his own smash single “Bring It Back”).
Currington had been working in the studio with producer Dann Huff and was on his way back to his tour bus (where he sleeps when he’s in Nashville) when Carter gave him a fateful phone call inviting him to swing by Major Bob Publishing.
How could he refuse? Major Bob is the company that gave Currington his first publishing deal– and a couch to sleep on — when he was starting out in Nashville.
“I got there, and there were just all these good memories coming back, we ended up writing that song,” Currington said. “And I never thought about that song ever again after I left that day. It wasn’t because I thought it was bad. I don’t know, it was just that the words kind of fell out. I didn’t even know what I was really saying until we started having to write it down.”
But the song was meant to be, and where Currington left off, fate stepped in.
“After maybe a month or so, I get a call from my manager saying, ‘Hey man, what about that song that you wrote?” Currington said. “And I was like, ‘Yeah, what about it?’ Usually songs that I write, I don’t think anything about them. I just throw them to the side because I always think everyone else’s songs are way better than mine.”
But his manager, John Dennis, was adamant, telling Currington he needed to record the song. But Currington didn’t even have a copy of it. When one did make its way to him, he was instantly reminded that this song was special.
“I was like, ‘That actually sounds pretty good!’” Currington chuckled. “That’s how that song ended up making it to the album — by someone just pulling it off the shelf.”
Currington is grateful it caught the attention of others.
“I’m really thankful that it’s the single,” he said. “I got a lot of really good feedback on it from our live show last year, and that’s why it got my vote to be a single.”