COUNTRY STAR OF THE MONTH: DARIUS RUCKER
Written by Tony Schultz on March 1, 2021
Darius Rucker’s trip to country music went in a unique path. He didn’t start out as country musician. Instead he gained fame as the lead singer of a “college rock” band in the mid 1990’s that most thought was the next big thing in music. Some listeners don’t know or only hear whispers of Hootie and The Blowfish when Darius’ name is mentioned. Their debut album ‘Cracked Rear View’ took radio by storm and launched them to the top of the charts with it’s easy going sound and fun to sing along with lyrics. The first single “Hold My Hand” was a soft rocker that felt refreshing amongst the angst of the alt-rock scene.
Darius had always had a love of country music since he was young and it helped influence the sound and songwriting of his “Blowfish” days. The band was not just a band, but a group of friends that enjoyed just playing with each other. They never had the success that their debut album had, but they still sing together and toured the country in 2019. Darius was a solo artist as of 2001, but wasn’t really finding his groove. Then in 2008 he had a hit on his hands with “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”. This made Rucker the first solo, African-American artist to chart a number one country hit since Charley Pride in 1983. He followed that with “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Alright” which both went to number 1. That year he won the CMA for New Artist Of The Year once again matching Charlie Pride as the only other African American to garner the award. In 2010 he released “Come Back Song” that Chris Stapleton helped write and once again went to number 1. On his next album he released the Bob Dylan cover of “Wagon Wheel” which vaulted to number one and quickly became a festival crowd singalong.
Darius Rucker has such a unique voice that people have had trouble describing it. There’s no twang or southern sound to it really and it’s such an interesting bass sound that it definitely stands out no matter what genre of music he’s singing. In 2019, while touring with Hootie and The Blowfish again they filled stadiums and fair grounds with fans singing along to all their hits and Darius’ solo hits as well. It shows that he crosses a coupld styles comfortably and everyone is happy to have him there. Darius’ most recent release “Beers and Sunshine” took a long climb to number one with it’s catchy hook and giving you the feeling that anywhere can be the beach with a few cold brews.