Live Nation presents
Plus Patrick Davis
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How to follow critical acclaim and widespread chart success in a rock band? For Darius Rucker, the answer was this: embark on a solo career as a country singer. Rucker, a founding member of US chart toppers Hootie & The Blowfish, has released three albums since reintroducing himself as a country musician in 2008. He is supporting the third, ‘True Believers’, with a show at Manchester Ritz on 20th November. ‘True Believers’ is packed with the emotion and experience of a life spent in the spotlight of the music industry. Rucker’s loveable charisma should make its transition to the Manchester stage an enchanting occasion.
Rucker’s journey began in 1986. A student at the University Of South Carolina, he founded Hootie & The Blowfish with Mark Bryan, Jim Sonefeld and Dean Felber. The band are on hiatus and currently have five albums to their name. The most recent was 2005’s ‘Looking For Lucky’ but it was 1994’s ‘Cracked Rear View’ that proved most significant for rhythm guitarist Rucker and the band. The album is the 16th best selling of all time in America, reached number one in America five times during 1995 and had shipped 16 million copies to music retailers by April 1999.
The exposure granted to Rucker by Hootie & The Blowfish spurred on his solo career. First came a relatively unheralded venture into R&B with 2002 album ‘Back to Then’. Early in 2008 Rucker signed to Capitol Records and launched himself as a country artist. His debut album for Capitol ‘Learn To Live’ was released the same year. Lead single ‘Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It’ proved a landmark. With it Rucker became the first African-American to chart at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart since Charley Pride in 1983. Singles ‘It Won’t Be Like This For Long’ and ‘Alright’, which was inspired by Rucker’s marriage, also hit number one. As an African-American former rock musician, Rucker’s entry into country music was met with importance. In 2009 he was recognised as the New Artist Of The Year by the Country Music Association.
Following an incredibly successful start, Rucker returned in 2010 with ‘Charleston SC 1966’. It yielded more number one singles cemented Rucker’s place at the heart of the country music scene. ‘True Believers’ followed in May 2013. Many well-received songs were taken from the record, including ‘Wagon Wheel’, a cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show song that featured vocals from Lady Antebellum. Much-loved in the US, Rucker’s foray into country music will make its mark in Manchester this year.