Darius Rucker is a country music star on the rise. His first foray into the genre, “Learn to Live,” sold more than a million copies.
But to most people he’ll always be Hootie, the frontman of ‘90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish.
And if the people who come to see him Friday, when he plays Pier Six Pavilion, are all Hootie fans, that’s all right with him.
“I’m not tired of playing “Let Her Cry,” he said, referring to the second single from Hootie’s major-label debut, “Cracked Rear View.”More than 15 years later, that album is still the 15th-best-selling of all time.
Rucker has been a solo artist for seven years now. He transitioned from soft rock to country in 2008, much to the surprise of the country music world, which hadn’t had an African-American star in decades.
“I think people will always be curious, but I think I’ve proven myself,” he said. “Learn to Live,” his first country album, spawned four singles. And in March, he started touring with his second, “Charleston, SC 1966.”
He’s found such success in country, he’s now operating mainly from Tennessee; all the songs on the album were written there. To find the members of his touring band, his producer put out the word in Nashville and found his six players in two days, he said.
“The great thing about Nashville is, everybody can play,” he said. So, what does Rucker look for in a band member? “I’m looking for someone I can hang out with,” he said. “Guys that can join this traveling circus and have fun.”
Rucker says the tour, which is expected to end this March, is likely to appeal to frat brothers and country fans. He won’t just play from his first two country albums, he’ll also play Hootie songs, and even Prince and Steve Miller covers.