Billy Currington Christens a New Mega-Honky-Tonk, Stampede Houston
photos by Marco Torres
"God is great, beer is good... And people are crazy!"
Billy Currington Club Escapade 2001 October 23, 2013
There's something about country music that polarizes people: they either love it or hate it. But when you sit down and think about it, most of the hate is a result of the culture of the music (and its fans) and less about the music itself. Just like rap, people focus on the individual characters (gangsters/rednecks) instead on the true art of the music being presented. I feel sorry for those people, I really do. You are missing some of the most exciting and passionate music being offered right now.
One of modern country's new young studs is the mop-haired, Vans-wearing Billy Currington. Except he's not exactly new (his self-titled debut was released in 2003), nor is he young (he's turning 40 in a few weeks). But take one gaze into his deep blue eyes and just wait until he flashed his illuminating smile, and you, too, might be hooked.
The night's entertainment was sponsored by The New Bull 100.3 FM. You may be familiar with their call letters: KILT. Earlier this year, the radio station's name and target audience was updated. The Bull is no longer your grandparents' country station, they are out for new blood and are more popular than ever.
A capacity show on a Wednesday night in far northeast Houston is proof enough of this. The Tejano/Norteño club Escapade 2001 hosted the night's festivities, but soon these country shows will take place next door, at the newly remodeled building calling itself Stampede Houston. Their tagline is "Drink Upstream From the Heard." I'm a bit confused as to what that means exactly, but it sounds cool.
Billy hit the stage with the track "I Got a Feelin'," and the 4,000-plus fans roared in excitement and sang along, completely in love with the kid from Savannah, Georgia. With a supremely talented five piece backup band behind him, Currington took complete control of the night, strumming his guitar with ease, and vocalizing tales of love, feelings, beer, and even his dog.
He doesn't wear a cowboy hat or wear boots, but the Southern drawl in his voice is inescapable. So, so very country, but so much more. In the few seconds we spoke with him backstage, he thanked us for coming out, took a quick photo with my girlfriend, and was completely humble. He gives off the same vibe onstage; there's no diva-like behavior to be found. Currington's dog Paco even made an appearance during "Like My Dog."
More songs about love and beer on the next page.
Of course he sang the good stuff, mainly "Pretty Good at Drinking Beer," "Hey Girl," and "People Are Crazy," but the most entertaining portions of the night were the several covers Currington and his band expertly produced. This hillbilly has got soul, man! He sang "Sign, Sealed, Delivered" by the great Stevie Wonder, "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams, Jr., "Movin' On Up" (theme to TV's The Jeffersons), "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, and "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. I mean, those five songs by themselves would make such an awesome show, and those were his encore!
The dude is simply one of the best entertainers out there, in or out of country music.
He must be doin' somethin' right.
Personal Bias: I'm more of a Willie/Waylon/Merle/Hank country music fan, and even some George/Garth thrown in, but some of these new country guys really got some spark in their spit. (I just made up that idiom, but it sure does sound like something a redneck would say!)
Overheard In the Crowd: "Just hugged Billy Currington and he smelled like syrup. I'm in love!" -- my girlfriend at the meet-and-greet :-(
Random Notebook Dump: Shout out to Sergio and April, the nice Tejano couple with whom we shared balcony space at the show. They were both huge Billy fans. And don't worry Sergio, I will stay out of your bubble next time!
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