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Story Behind the Song: Billy Currington, ‘It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To’

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Billy Currington earned his 11th No. 1 song with “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To,” the third single from his Summer Forever album. The tune, written by Currington, along with Cary Barlowe and Shy Carter, wasn’t the result of a planned writing session, but rather an impromptu get-together that turned into the three men penning one of the biggest hits of Currington’s career. Below, Currington and Barlowe share the story behind the chart-topping single with The Boot.

Billy Currington: It kind of came out of the blue. I called up Shy Carter, who is a buddy of mine from LA, and he was in town writing with Cary Barlowe, and he was like, “Come on, hang out with Cary and me.” That’s all I thought, I was just going to say hello. That’s all that was; I was, 10 minutes later, going to be out of there.

Long story short, a couple hours later, we had the song “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.” Those things happen rare for me like that. It was a magical moment for me.

I forgot about the song, to be honest. When I was getting ready to do my last session on the album with [producer] Dann Huff, he sent that to my manager, because we had recorded it on a little small studio that day. He said, “Hey, don’t forget about this.”

Cary Barlowe: I’ve known Billy quite a few years, and we’ve been friends. We would see each other out on the road, if I’d be writing with another artist at festivals and shows and stuff. We’re always going, “Man, we should get together to write.” But this particular evening, I wrote with Shy Carter that morning. When we got done, it was probably about 2:00 or 3:00. He goes, “Hey man, Billy’s going to come by and see what’s up.”

I was like, “Cool, man. I haven’t seen him in a while. It will be good to say hey;” I wasn’t like, “Oh man, this is my chance to write a song.” We were just hanging out as friends: We cracked open a couple Bud Lights, and we were talking, and next thing you know, Billy picks up a guitar; we had a bunch laying around in our office. I’m like, “Here we go. I guess I’m going to get my guitar.”

Probably, in an hour, we had the song, in an hour and a half. It’s not always like that, but that one kind of fell out. Fast forward about five hours later and it’s, like, 1AM, and we’ve got a full demo, and we’ve been hanging out all night.

I usually don’t say this, but I knew it was a special song. I didn’t know what it did, necessarily, but to my ears, I thought it was a catchy song — really cool, and the lyrics were great. I’m really proud of it.

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