Playing to a sparse but enthusiastic audience Saturday night at Verizon Arena, Billy Currington not only gave his fans “Good Directions,” but also a sampling of songs off his new album, a nice mix of past hits and some great covers of artists he admires.
The down-to-earth Georgia native launched into “I Got a Feeling” as he took the stage and soon had the crowd of 3,003 singing along to good ol’ boy favorites such as “That’s How Country Boys Roll” and “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.” That’s a pair of No. 1 hits featuring lyrics like “I’m not the type to work in a bank, I’m no good at slappin’ on paint, don’t have a knack for makin’ motors crank … but I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer.”
He often picks catchy, story-telling songs and then uses his rich voice to turn them into hits. “Must Be Doin’ Something Right,” the always-popular “People Are Crazy” and “Hey Girl,” the first big release off his current “We Are Tonight” album, all have hit the top spot on the country charts. His new single, “We Are Tonight,” joined those three as a crowd favorite as did the clever “Like My Dog.”
Currington likes to swap out the covers he performs, so he’s not singing the same thing at every concert on a tour. Central Arkansas fans were treated to — among others — a very likeable version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” before Currington brought his two opening acts — Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice — back out to help on a rousing rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” during his encore.
But if there’s one song that completely stands out in Currington’s discography, it’s the terrific “Good Directions” — “a left will take you to the interstate, but a right will bring you right back here to me” — which stayed at No. 1 for three weeks back in 2007. Co-written by one Luke Bryan (before he was one of the hottest acts in country music), Currington ended his encore with this little ditty about the girl of his dreams heading back his way after stopping at Miss Bell’s for some of her sweet tea.
During his part of the show, Eldredge, sporting a slightly gravelly voice, sang songs off his debut album, highlighted by the No. 1 single “Don’t Ya,” the tender love song “Mean to Me” and “Bring You Back.”
Rice, a former college football player at North Carolina who later finished second on the TV reality show “Survivor: Nicaragua,” is best known for co-writing “Cruise,” the smash hit by Florida Georgia Line. He opened the show with a hard-driving sound best showcased on “Ready Set Roll” and “Look at My Truck.”