After a successful run as Hootie & the Blowfish's pop/rock frontman in the mid-90's, Darius Rucker decided to embark on a solo country music career in the early 2000's. "Learn to Live" was his first country solo project and solidified his status as country superstar. Five Billboard chart topping country albums later, Rucker is gearing up for his sixth solo project with the recent release of "Beers and Sunshine," the first single. Franklin Lifestyle had a chance to catch up with the Charleston, SC native and get some scoop on what's to come.
What was it like hosting the CMA's - 1) for the first time 2) in the covid era 3) with Reba as co-host?
The CMA Awards are always one of my favorite nights of the year, so to host was a dream come true. Even though this year’s show looked a little different, I was so flattered to be asked and honored to host alongside an absolute icon, Reba. She and I have been friends for a while, however it was really fun to grow even closer through that experience. I’m an even bigger fan now if that’s possible!
Why did you want to remake Elvis' "In the Ghetto?'
Mac Davis was one of the greatest songwriters of all time and his message in these lyrics still rings true today. I was lucky enough to know him over the years, so this was a great way to pay tribute to our friend and a true pioneer in music.
I understand you did some writing during the quarantine. Where did the inspiration from "Beers And Sunshine" come from?
I wrote “Beers And Sunshine” during a Zoom session, which has been a new experience this year. The songwriters and I talked about how crazy everything feels, yet we also realized how nice it is when you turn off the TV and just slow down to focus on the extra time with loved ones to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Focusing more on that in 2020 has helped me navigate during an otherwise incredibly stressful year.
How else did you spend your time during quarantine?
I’ve done a lot of golfing with my son Jack – we always try to golf together when I’m on tour, but when the round ends, I’m rushing off to sound check or bus call. This year, it’s been nice to have extra time with him. My daughter Dani recorded a song that I helped produce earlier this summer too. It’s been nice to have extra time with family that we don’t always get during a normal touring year.
Tell us a little about 2019's reunion tour with the guys from Hootie and the Blowfish. What was that like for you? And what was the response like from fans?
It was incredible. We were nervous to see what the response would be, but the fans were so excited which made it even more exciting for us. Those guys have been my brothers since college, so I feel really fortunate to still be able to get on stage with them all these years later.
What's next for Hootie? For Darius? Are you anxious to get back on the road?
I am ready to get back to playing live music as soon as it’s safe. I’ve spent so many years seeing that next date or city on the calendar; it’s definitely been an adjustment to not have that. This downtime has given me a lot of time to focus on new music and to remember how much I love playing shows, so I definitely appreciate that silver lining.
Tell me something you love about Franklin.
I love the laid back feel and sense of community. I always tell people that’s my favorite thing about my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, and I see a lot of that same character and charm here.