Billy Currington will freely admit that songwriting rules went out the window for his latest No. 1 single, “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” Actually, there were no rules at all when Currington got together with his songwriting buddies Cary Barlowe and Shy Carter in Nashville. The soulful singer shared the story behind “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” prior to a festive industry party celebrating the success of the song, Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 6th.
Instinctive forces evidently were in play when Currington paid what was assumed to be an off-the-cuff visit to Barlowe and Carter one night. “We weren’t scheduled to write a song,” Barlowe began, setting up the somewhat unconventional story. Currington picked up the thread, adding, “I just dropped in and about an hour-and-a-half later, we have this song. The words just started falling out. We were all playing guitars and laughing and saying different lines. There were no rules. Even the title itself wasn’t planned.”
By “rules,” Currington, long considered one of country’s more laid-back individuals (he spends much of his down time surfing the waters off Hawaii), was referring to the standard Music Row method of songwriting, often treated more like a business appointment than a creative venture. But he learned from previously writing with Los Angeles-based Carter that there is a different way.
“Most people want you to meet up [at an appointed time] and have a title when you walk in the room,” Currington noted. “But it’s not that way in LA. I learned that we could just be saying things to each other and write them down and that’s the song. We don’t really sit there and go over it or dissect lines too much. I like that process a lot better.” he added with a charming smile.
“It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” became the sole tune that Currington wrote for his current album Summer Forever, released in June of 2015. “It’s definitely more on the edgier side,” Currington said. “This is more of an amped-up, anthemic type of song.” It’s also somewhat autobiographical, as Currington has noted that the line, “But you drug my heart through the Alabama dirt,” was inspired, so to speak, by a past relationship.
Currington recently released the latest (and likely last) single from “Summer Forever,” “Do I Make You Wanna.” His next will surely come from a new record that’s in the early stages. “I am looking at recording in the spring and starting a new project,” Currington told the media members.
The jam-packed celebratory party at Nashville restaurant South featured No. 1 plaques for all the writers as well as producer Dann Huff. From the South stage, Currington gave a shout-out to a special guest in the house: his grandmother Evelyn, who helped raise him as a youngster in Georgia.
After all the goodies were dispensed, Currington thanked his fellow writers and recalled the day that “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” fell to earth like a gift from the Muses. “We weren’t even looking to write a song that day,” Currington smiled. “That’s what made it so simple and easy.”