Billy Currington fans all know that “God is great, beer is good and people are crazy.” So what better place to sing that song than a county fair, out under the heavens with people having a good time?
Some 3,700 fans showed up Tuesday night under gloomy skies and endured light drizzle at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa to see the bearded, curly-haired 40-year old from Georgia play and sing his brand of country music, with lots of old-fashioned heart and a healthy taste of rock ’n’ roll.
Known for performing barefoot, Curringtown has scored nine solo No. 1 hits on the country charts in the past 10 years, and he played as many of those as he could Tuesday.
Backed by a six-man band. Currington opened with the upbeat “I Got a Feeling,” followed by his moving lament, “Love Done Gone.”
He had the crowd on its feet, cheering and singing along for the tongue-in-cheek low-achiever’s anthem, “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.”
Currington showed his romantic side with the soulful love song, “Let Me Down Easy” and sad but powerful “Don’t.”
Tuesday’s show peaked with his newest hit, the country rocker “We Are Tonight,” demonstrating that his career is still moving forward.
He paid tribute to other country singers, too.
His encores included the early Garth Brooks hit, “Friends in Low Places.”
Currington, who worked for a concrete company and as personal trainer before his musical career took off, comes across as regular guy in T-shirt and jeans, just havin’ a good time with his friends.
“He’s just down to earth,” said fan Debbie Ahrens, 50, of Santa Rosa. “He’s a good old boy. He’s old-time country.”
Haley Pallas, 18, of Rohnert Park, offered her own point of view on Currington: “He’s not fake. He’s real, and he’s sexy.”
“The music makes me feel good,” said Avery Lynch, 16, of Santa Rosa. “It’s completely different from regular pop.”
A local favorite, McKenna Faith of Ukiah, opened the show with a 30-minute set, starting with the title track from her new album, “Let’s Get Lost.”
Currington will perform this week in Southern California and Sacramento, then head across the country, with dates in Nevada, Kentucky, New York, Maine and Texas.