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Every woman wants her guy to open up and express his emotions. If only he could just share some of his dreams or a little bit of his pain. That’s how a real man should be.

Have you met Billy Currington?

This rising country star hit Nashville in a big way last year with the most personal of songs, "Walk a Little Straighter." When fans, especially of the female variety, found out this song was completely autobiographical and honest to the core, Billy found his audience.

"Walk a Little Straighter" is a ballad that Billy wrote about growing up in his Rincon, Georgia, home with an alcoholic father. The song tells the story of a child watching his father stumble through the door and vowing not to make the same mistake when he becomes a father someday. In fact, he wrote the chorus of the song when he was only 12-years old. "He’d get drunk and a little crazy," Billy says. "He eventually died of drinking and cancer."

As sad as the story of his early years is to hear, there is an upside to young Billy’s relationship with his father. His dad was the one who introduced him to country music. "He’d play Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, The Statler Brothers, Kenny Rogers, all those guys," Billy says. "I loved it and I’d play them myself when he wasn’t around."

Billy was also inspired by the band, Alabama, and would sing in the bathroom pretending to be the band’s lead singer, Randy Owen. Eventually, he got up the nerve to sing outside the bathroom, mostly in church. “I’ve always been writing. Growing up, I’d get halfway through a song, but it wouldn’t make any sense anymore, so I’d quit. I never thought, ‘I’m going to move to Nashville to be a writer.’ That was never my thing, but every year I was writing something.”

A few months after high school, Billy finally did move to Nashville and found a well-paying job at a concrete company. But the long hours prevented him from pursuing music, so he quit and became a personal trainer. One of his clients worked at BMI, a music publishing company, and invited him to audition. This led to a songwriting deal, which unfortunately was short-lived.

But Billy persevered and soon signed with Mercury Records, which released his first and self-titled album this year. All Billy hopes for is a long career and well, a few other things."My first goal is to build my grandma a log cabin house," he says. "We grew up in a trailer all our lives. That’s something she’s always wanted."

Don’t you just love a guy who loves his grandma? / Issue 43 - September 1993
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