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Billy Currington’s first new album in three years kicks off with a pickup line. “Hey Girl” is the infectious debut single from the Georgia native’s upcoming We Are Tonight album. Billy says that upon hearing the song’s demo for the first time he was flooded with memories of high school.
“My friends and I would walk down the beach and, as goofy as it sounds, the perfect way to start a conversation is just to say, ‘Hey, girl!’” he tells Country Weekly with a laugh.
Co-written by Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley and Chris DeStefano, “Hey Girl” has given Billy his best first-week sales ever and is quickly closing in on the Top 20 on Billboard’s country singles chart. The singer says he was rooting for the song to be the album’s first single, mainly because he couldn’t wait to play it live.
“The tempo is great for our shows,” he reports. “When they hear that first guitar riff, the energy automatically goes up.”
The entire energy of We Are Tonight is uplifting, as well. Billy recorded some tearjerking ballads for the project but ditched them when he realized the theme was shaping up to be mood-enhancing, from start to finish. One song that brings a particularly big smile to his face is “Banana Pancakes,” his amped-up cover of the Jack Johnson hit.
“We put some steel guitar on it and a full band around it, because Jack’s version is very simple,” he explains. “His version is the better of the two, no doubt," he adds, laughing. "But we have a great version, with a seven-piece band on it. Shy Carter sings harmony on that, and he even put a little rap on there.”
Shy is also one of three producers on We Are Tonight, along with Carson Chamberlain and Dann Huff. Another big name in the album credits is the one and only Willie Nelson, who duets with Billy on the humorous “Hard to Be a Hippie.”
We Are Tonight will be released Sept. 17.