You may know Darius Rucker as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, the mellow rock band of the 90s that put out a string of hits and one of the most successful American rock albums of the decade in “Cracked Rearview Mirror.”
Sixteen times platinum, the album featured four signature hit singles “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” “Only Wanna Be with You” and “Time.”
And that would be plenty for any musician’s career. Really, we could stop now and just say that Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish will be playing Borgata’s Festival Park August 15, so c’mon out and party like its 1994.
Except that’s not the Darius Rucker who’ll be playing Festival Park. Well, it is—same guy—but Darius Rucker is now a bona fide country music star.
And by bona fide, we mean he has four consecutive hit country albums with a string of six No. 1 hits on the country charts — the first No. 1’s for an African American artist since Charlie Pride in 1983. He’s a member of the Grand Ol’ Opry and he has pulled off one of the greatest musical transitions in history.
In retrospect, the transition isn’t so shocking since Ruckus is from South Carolina and formed Hootie & the Blowfish while a student at the University of South Carolina.
Proud to call himself a southerner, his 2014 album “Southern Style” sums up a lot about how Rucker looks at life and music.
“To me, the South means a laid-back lifestyle, beaches, family, and being able to have a good time when you want to,” says Rucker. “In Charleston, where I’m from, nobody’s in a rush to get anywhere. And there’s a mentality that there’s room for everybody. So with these songs, I wanted to bring out the way I live, the way my friends live, and all the things that are important to us.”
And let’s not forget Rucker’s 2013 cover of the classic Bob Dylan penned, Old Crow Medicine Show song “Wagon Wheel,” which went No. 1 for Rucker and was a major cross-over hit.
“‘Wagon Wheel’ was one of those great anomalies in a career—you have to just be happy with something like that and go on and try to make another record,” says Rucker. “But it did help me realize that fans really do want country music from me. With everything happening in the music, on the radio, ‘Wagon Wheel’ showed that you can still have big hits with real country songs.”
So while you may know Rucker as a rocker, he’s a good ol’ country artist now.
Still there’s one song on “Southern Style” that maybe best sums up the diverse life and career of Darius Rucker—“Good for a Good Time.”
“That was what I was looking for,” he says. “A big, old-fashioned, sing-a-long drinking song. I’m older now, I’m a dad, I don’t go out that much. But if it’s a good song, a song I really want to sing, I can still channel the old Darius, the one who’s always ready to party. I think that’s the signature song on the record.”
And that’s from a guy with a lot of signature songs. Well, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has the perfect place to party with Darius Rucker.
Tickets for Darius Rucker at Borgata’s Festival Park at 8pm August 15 are $59.50 and $99 and available here. Borgata is also offering a “Wagon Wheel VIP package” for $199 which includes an exclusive pre-show acoustic performance by Rucker.