Don’t think I wasn’t going to tell you that Home Town Hero Darius Rucker is going to be performing his hit country single on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tonight.
NASHVILLE, TN – September 24, 2008 – Capitol Records Nashville recording artist Darius Rucker’s debut country album, Learn to Live, has hit #1 on Billboard’s “Top Country Albums” chart, as well as #5 on the publication’s overall sales chart, “The Billboard 200”; Soundscan credits Learn to Live with 60,414 units sold during its first week of release. This career milestone for Rucker, whose voice is synonymous with one of the top-selling bands of all time, Grammy Award-winning Hootie & The Blowfish, arrives the same week that his debut country single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” hit the top of all three major country industry charts.
The emergence of Darius Rucker at the top of both the country singles and country album charts had some journalists pulling out their music history books. Wade Jessen, Nashville’s director of charts and operations for radio trade publication R&R, points out in the 9/22 R&R Country Hotfax that “Darius Rucker becomes the first solo act in 21 years to lead the R&R Country chart after gaining initial stardom outside the format . . . No solo act has done so since Michael Johnson scored back-to-back country charttoppers in 1987 with ‘Give Me Wing’ and ‘The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder.’ Johnson’s pre-country pop hits include his signature song, ‘Bluer Than Blue’ (1978) and ‘This Night Won’t Last Forever’ (1979).”
In a 9/23 USA Today feature on Rucker, the national newspaper points out that “before this week, only two black singers had topped the country singles charts: Ray Charles and Charley Pride. . . Charles was the last black artist to have a No. 1 country single; his ‘Seven Spanish Angels’ duet with Willie Nelson topped the charts in March 1985. Pride, a Country Music Hall of Famer, had more than two dozen No. 1 hits. His last, ‘Night Games,’ reached the top slot 25 years ago this week.” In the article Rucker admits that “It’s awesome, and I can’t believe it’s happening, but I didn’t make the record for that stuff . . . I just wanted to make a record that people wanted to listen to.”
In industry publication Country Aircheck this week, Rucker happily acknowledges that the Country community has readily embraced him into the format: “It’s amazing to me . . . I’m friends with maybe 20 PDs (program directors). I have their number, they have my number, we text each other, and I don’t think I knew five program directors in Rock. I may have met them, but we weren’t friends. To have that accessibility is something I never thought about in the rock world.”
“Country artists are so lucky in not just the relationships they have with radio, but the relationships they have with their fans,” Rucker continued. “You come to CMA Music Fest and see someone who’s willing to sign five hours of autographs, but you also see that fan willing to stand and wait for five hours. That’s why country artists last so long.”
Rucker continues to make promotional appearances across the country on behalf of Learn to Live; in January, Rucker will open dates for artist Brad Paisley on The Paisley Party tour.