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Billy Currington bringing Hawaiian cool to country music

Billy Currington joins Kenny Chesney's Goin' Coastal Tour tanned, toned and fueled on papaya and fresh fish.

A month of surfing in Hawaii will do that.

The country singer opens Saturday's show at Raymond James Stadium, the second of 50-plus stops nationwide. Expect him to perform eight or nine of his hits, from Good Directions to Let Me Down Easy, which stood at No. 3 on the Billboard country chart this week.

But the 37-year-old Georgia native needs no directions when it comes to finding Tampa. He's a staple here in March, thanks, partly, to the sunshine, water and boats, he said. Last year, he performed at the Strawberry Festival.

In an interview from Nashville, Currington talked about foraging for his own food and being pretty good at drinkin' beer.

What's the difference between playing at a small venue and at a football stadium?

You have the intimacy thing going on with the small shows, and it's easiest to connect, in my opinion, with the people that are watching. With those big shows you almost kind of pretend that you're out there with everyone, even though you're not because everyone is so far away. I'm not really used to that yet, so it's going to be a learning experience for me.

A few of your songs talk about drinking beer — one even has it in the title. Are you a big beer drinker? Any favorites?

I'm an occasional, everything-in-moderation type of guy, so I have beers every now and then. I tend to like the darker beer, like Guinness and the Japanese beers. I like anything that tastes good.

The Goin' Coastal Tour goes nonstop through August. Have you been resting up for it?

I definitely took a little break. I've been doing some surfing in Hawaii for about a month. I was mostly mentally preparing, just relaxing and thinking about who I want to be out there, what I want to learn and what I want to take from it.

A month in Hawaii sure sounds nice.

We usually take one or two months off a year in the cold season. That's just a good place to go. I found me a good, little cheap spot near the beach, and I live off coconuts. Simplify.

Do you have a good tan?

I've definitely got one of those at the moment compared to all these white people around here. (Laughs) I feel almost ashamed.

I see that you used to be a personal trainer. Do you work out often? What's your regimen?

I do. The past three months I've kind of turned it back on. I do lot of eating healthy and cardio. Not a bunch of heavy weight lifting. Just mostly stuff that I can do outside of the gym, down a dirt road or a park. A lot of outside running, push ups, pull-up bars that I can find and surfing.

What does your diet consist of?

A lot of juicing, a lot of fresh, organic vegetables, grains, fish. Anything I can catch or get off the trees myself. In Hawaii I provide most of my meals myself. We fish in the mornings or late afternoons and we know the parts of the jungle we can get all the fresh fruit. Even pepper, we get it off the trees.

That doesn't sound like Southern-style cooking.

I grew up on all that really Southern, sometimes we can call it, unhealthy eating. As I got older, I kind of stepped out in a different world and learned a whole different way of living. I'm thankful to the Hawaiians for showing me a lot of things.

Billy Currington bringing Hawaiian cool to country music 03/17/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 17, 2011 9:10am]
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