Darius Rucker plans most intimate Detroit show in years with Fox stop

Darius Rucker knows the power of an intimate performance. Long before he commanded the stages in amphitheatres, arenas and festivals across America, he ran through small clubs and bars all over the south while Hootie & the Blowfish earned its money.

Now Rucker is returning to his roots: The country star will tour US cinemas early next year, including on March 25th at the Fox Theater in Detroit. The aspiring singer-songwriter Caylee Hammack opens.

Tickets ($ 39- $ 149) go on sale on Friday at 11 a.m. through Ticketmaster.

The 5,000-seat Fox appointment will be the coziest concert Rucker has played in Detroit since Hootie & the Blowfish’s first Motor City show – a state theater gig in 1995 when the band started nationwide.

“We’ve been out there for so long doing the big places. When we started talking about what we should do next winter, why not play the places we haven’t played in a long time, all these great theaters that I’ve never done as a country artist “, he says. “When we started talking to the agents it just seemed like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this – get it done and have fun, don’t sit there worrying about ticket sales.

The theater tour will accompany the release of a new album, the first by Rucker since “When Was the Last Time” from 2017. The upcoming album has already produced its latest country chart topper – the feel-good hit “Beers and Sunshine” – and another one (“My Masterpiece”) landed this spring.

Both of these recent songs are Rucker’s latest songwriting collaborations with Detroit-born JT Harding – and they came out of a prolific spate of pandemic lockdown sessions conducted by Zoom.

It’s been 13 years since the 55-year-old South Carolinian waded into the waters of country music – a brave and risky move from a singer who had stratospheric success with Hootie and the band’s warm-hearted radio hits.

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Rucker’s international match paid off, of course. With his rich baritone, a knack for a strong melody and an intuitive sense of Americana, he quickly became one of the top stars of Nashville: His first three singles shot to number 1 on the country charts and his 2013 cover of the Old Crow Medicine shows “Wagon Wheel ”became one of the biggest salespeople in the country’s history.

It is an achievement that gives Rucker a distinctive place in the annals of music. With Hootie’s major label debut “Cracked Rear View”, which is considered the ninth bestseller of all time in the USA – certified by the RIAA with 21 million copies sold – Rucker is the rare artist who achieved massive milestones in two different formats Has achieved.

“To know that we made songs that are part of the American songbook is pretty great,” he says.

He didn’t bet on that when he started his country career in 2008. At the time he thought he was going to “have some fun, put a band together and play some clubs”.

“After doing that with Hootie, when I got to Nashville, all I really wanted to do was make music. There were no African Americans on the (national) radio. I didn’t think I’d be the one to break that barrier, ”he says. “I was just happy that someone paid for my record and I could make the music I wanted. My whole goal was to make a little noise so I could make another one. And here we are 14 years later, and there have been 10 number 1 hits and stuff. I did not expect that.”

2020 was particularly dramatic for Rucker: In addition to the months of home-bound writing and recording, he announced a separation from Beth Leonard, his 20-year-old wife. Rucker and his musicians have finally returned to a recording studio to finalize the new album.

“Everyone is socially distant and has their masks on, but we record everyone together,” he says. “I love the album. I am happy when people hear it. When you have so much time to spare – and so many things happen in your life as I do – you have a lot to write about. “

Dean Felber, Jim Sonefeld, Darius Rucker and Mark Bryan of Hootie & the Blowfish perform on stage during Hootie & the Blowfish at The Troubadour on November 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

The pandemic break followed a festive 2019 year for Rucker and his old hootie bandmates who traversed the country on a reunion tour called Group Therapy as they celebrated the 25th anniversary of “Cracked Rear View”.

He didn’t go away during the pandemic: Rucker put his country hat back on, showed up for award ceremonies, virtual appearances and socially distant concerts.

But last August couldn’t come soon enough, because Rucker returned to the tour for the first time in a year and a half. Things are a little different now – with COVID-19 logs, the backstage atmosphere is more relaxed and less free for everyone – but it’s a popular place for a man who has served live music for 35 years.

“Oh man, to be back on the road after an 18 month break is incredible. You don’t know how much you love it until you can, ”he says. “When we had no idea when we could do it again, I really realized how much I love making music and what it’s like for what I was sent here for. It feels great to be back outside, seeing crowds, people laughing, dancing with their friends. I’ll never take that again. “

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