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Darius Rucker fired up to headline Detroit's Downtown Hoedown

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Some artists take headlining major music festivals as a matter of course once they've achieved a certain strata of success.

Not Darius Rucker. And not when it comes to Detroit's annual Downtown Hoedown.

"I'm excited about it," says Rucker, 49, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman who's released four consecutive No. 1 country so albums since 2008, including this year's "Southern Style." "It's a big, huge festival, and Detroit's one of THOSE places for me, even in the Hootie days. It's always been good playing Pine Knob all those years and that stuff.

"So every time Detroit is on the calendar I'm geeked, and when it's something as good as the Hoedown, it's even better."

The South Carolina-born Rucker, 49, is also stoked to use the festival to showcase "Southern Style." Following 2014's "Home For the Holidays" and especially 2013's "True Believers," Rucker says that "my goal was just to make a fun record. 'True Believers' I thought was a serious record. So what I was saying to all the writers and my producers was 'Let's make a fun, really country record. Let's have fun with it. Let's not turn every session into trying to write this big, serious hit.' That's the mentality we went in with.

"There's some serious songs, of course; you need to have those. But I like to have fun and I like songs about having fun, so that's what we did."

"Southern Style" will be keeping Rucker busy this year, but he reports that Hootie & the Blowfish, which still plays a handful of shows each year, has been "getting together, starting to write songs" for a potential new album, the group's first since 2005. Rucker says there's no timetable, however; the group -- whose 1994 debut "Cracked Rear View" is certified 16-times platinum -- is in a position where it can wait until it's completely satisfied before putting anything out.

"I don't know if it's going to be next year or the year after that or the year after that," Rucker says. "When we think the time is right and we have the songs, we'll go back into the studio and make a record and do a tour. The good thing is that every time we play we fall into the same dynamic we've had for 30 years, so once we get going it should come fairly quickly."

33rd Annual WYCD Downtown Hoedown, with Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Brett Eldredge, the Eli Young Band, Jana Kramer and more.

Friday and Saturday, June 5-6. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday, Noon on Saturday.

West Riverfront Park, Jefferson Avenue at 10th Street, Detroit.

Tickets are $35 single day, $49.50 for both.

Visit www.wycd.cbslocal.com and www.olympiaentertainment.com schedules and other details.

Web Site: www.wycd.cbslocal.com

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