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Interview:
Darius Rucker at DTE, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic onTwit

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Ten years ago, Darius Rucker made a bold move from rock stardom with Hootie & the Blowfish to a country career as a solo artist.



Suffice to say it paid off.



Rucker's country debut, 2008's "Learn To Live," debuted at No. 1, as have three of the five he's released since. He's had eight No. 1 country singles, and his trophy case includes prizes from the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and even the British Country Music Association.



Hootie & the Blowfish lives, sporadically, but that's something Rucker, 52, has largely left in the rear view of his country music mirror...



It's been more than 11 months since Rucker released his latest album, "When Was the Last Time," and he's still happy with the 12-song set. "I was in a different place when we were making it. Guys kept sending me these songs that were exactly how I was feeling and where I was, so I got a lot of great songs that I wanted to use and didn't wind up with as many of my own this time. When songs are undeniable like that, I'd be a fool if I didn't cut 'em. As an artist you've got to step back and decide what's best for your album. These songs were so good it was easy to do."



The album also features a version of Drivin N Cryin's "Straight To Hell," Rucker's latest single, with Rucker joined by Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Jason Alden and Luke Bryan. "I've bene meaning to cut that song for 10 years, my whole time in Nashville. It's a big song. In the middle of making this album, out of the blue I got a text from Charles Kelley, 'Hey man, I was just listening to Drivin N Cryin. You ever think about cutting 'Straight to Hell?' 'Yeah, I've been thinking about it for 10 years. I think the universe is telling me something.' And his next text said, 'You should have me sing on it.' So he came in and did it and we got Aldean and Luke and it's doing really well. I go way back with (Drivin N Cryin's) Kevin Kenney, and I'm sure he's pretty happy."



Touring this summer with Lady Antebellum has given Rucker time to play plenty of golf with Kelley as well. "The only reason we decided to do it was so me and Charles can play as much golf as we can," Rucker says by phone with a laugh. "Charles is whipping my butt right now. We're about equal players but right now he'll even admit that he's playing at a high level. I'm getting tired of losing to him."



Rucker is also a friend of Tiger Woods' and has been happy to watch the professional golfing icon's comeback this year. "I love it. I think it's great for him, great for the game. He's going to win majors again. It's just great to see him having so much fun and doing so well. I think there was a minute where he thought he was done with golf, but you should never be done with golf. It's great to see him back."



Like many other musicians, Rucker has been mourning last months' death of Aretha Franklin. "I got to meet Aretha a couple of times, and she was always so gracious to me. Growing up, she was one of those staples for me, like Al Green and Gladys Knight & the Pips, people who shaped who I was becoming as a singer. To have listened to all those records for years and then to have met her was just amazing. I feel lucky to have lived when she was alive."



If You Go:



Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker and Russell Dickerson



7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.



DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.



Tickets start at $30.



Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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