With 20 years of hits in his discography, you’d think three-time GRAMMY winner Darius Rucker would get used to them. As “Homegrown Honey,” the first single from his new Capitol Nashville album Southern Style, hits No. 1 on the Mediabase Country songs chart this week, however, the rocker-turned-country star admits he still gets the same feeling: “Wow!”
“A lot of people may not realize this, but even with all the success we had with Hootie & The Blowfish, we never had a single go to No. 1,” Rucker said. “I had never experienced that feeling until ‘Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,’ when it peaked at the top of the Country charts in 2008 when we were releasing Learn To Live. So to be here again – four albums and seven years later – about to celebrate the release of Southern Style and get the news that we just hit our seventh No. 1 single on Country radio charts is just insane. I say ‘we’ as this is a feat I have learned only comes from a community really embracing the music and wanting to play it for fans that want to hear it, and that just makes it all the more special to me.”
Rucker will celebrate his new hit and Tuesday’s release of Southern Style all over the map in the coming weeks. He kicks off release week Tuesday, March 31 with a visit to NBC’s “TODAY Show,” then hits “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (April 7) and ABC’s “The Chew” (April 16) later this month.
Southern Style is already receiving critical praise. According to USA Today, “Southern Style comes close to Rucker’s ideal, with the sweet dobro intro to honky-tonk shuffle ‘Good for a Good Time’ and a title song that extols the virtues of Billy Graham, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Lil Wayne against a leisurely paced slide guitar. On ‘Baby I’m Right,’ a playful duet with Mallary Hope, the mandolin is so high in the mix it’s almost like an extra lead voice.”
Country Weekly said Rucker’s sunny personality shines throughout Southern Style, an album that “is so full of love, fun and sweet memories you practically see the smile on Darius’ lips as he sings.” Entertainment Weekly added that the album “is the work of an artist who knows his whiskey-baritoned sweet spot: In his own words, ‘I wanna get high on some low country with you.’”
The Country genre has become home for the South Carolina singer. His previous three releases debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, he scored a GRAMMY Award for his 2013 mega-hit “Wagon Wheel” and is headed back out on the road again this summer on the Southern Style Tour, beginning May 14 in Holmdel, N.J., with Brett Eldredge, the Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses. He’s deeply embedded in the Music Row community. Rucker wrote “Homegrown Honey” with a couple of fellow GRAMMY winners, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and producer Nathan Chapman.
“Thinking back to the day Charles and I were on the golf course and he said, ‘Man, we should write together -we never have,’ and I couldn’t believe we had known each other so long and never sat down to really just write,” Rucker said. “A few weeks later we made it happen, and I remember walking out of that room and calling my management saying we had the single for my new record.”
Turns out it was a No. 1 single.