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Story Behind the Song: Billy Currington, ‘Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer’

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In May of 2010, Billy Currington released “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” as the lead single from his fourth studio album, Enjoy Yourself. Written by Troy Jones, the song hit No. 1 on the country charts and has been certified gold; below, Jones tells The Boot about the inspiration for the hit song.

Some songs, you don’t start out with a title. And I didn’t with “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.”

I was riding down the road a few years back and got this tune going in my head. For some reason, I got to thinking that I didn’t go to college — all I have is a high-school education. I don’t have a trade; I’m not a welder, and I’m not a mechanic. I was thinking, “Well, the only thing I can do is pick a guitar and write songs!” So when I got home, I picked up my guitar, and those first few lines just started coming out — that I wasn’t born for digging deep holes or paving roads, and all that stuff. And it just kind of rolled out from there!

I didn’t have a title, so I was trying lines like “I’m pretty good at …” all these different things. And then I thought … “Hmmm … well, I’m pretty good at drinkin’ beer!” [Laughs]

I worked on the song a while that afternoon and finished it up on maybe the third day. Really, this song just wrote itself. For whatever reason, that day, it just came. Once it started, it just kept coming. A lot of songs, you’ll work on them for weeks. But sometimes, you’ll get a gift. And this one was a gift.

I actually didn’t even think it was a hit when I wrote it! I thought it was a pretty good song and it was fun to sing, and I had fun singing it at writers’ nights, but I never thought, “Boy, that’s a hit,” like I did when I wrote “People Are Crazy.” It’s funny, sometimes I’ll think a song is great and play it for my publisher, and they’ll go, “Oh, okay … that’s good. You got anything else?” Then I’ll play something I think stinks, and they’ll go, “Oh, we love that!” And I’ll go, “You do?” [Laughs]

For whatever reason, stuff seems to happen when I’m on top of wheels — believe it or not, even when I’m on my lawnmower! I do drive a lot; I’m always going somewhere. I grew up down in Port St. Joe, Fla., a little fishing town down there. I drive down there several times a year; my mom’s down there, so I go spend a couple of nights with her once in a while. I’ll walk around and around that little town I grew up in … and when I get back home, I generally write up a song or two. It really does inspire me to write.

This story was originally written by Marianne Horner, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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