From fronting Hootie & the Blowfish to his country music metamorphosis, Darius Rucker has one of the most impressive resumes in music—regardless of genre.
Of course, Hootie & the Blowfish took hold of the pop-rock charts in the 1990s with songs like “Hold My Hand,” “Only Wanna Be With You,” and more. By the late 2000s, Darius was topping the country charts as a solo star. He continues to shine with songs like his 2021 chart-topper, “Beers and Sunshine.”
In honor of Darius Rucker’s 55th birthday on May 13, we tasked Outsider‘s Marty Smith, Wes Blankenship, and Jim Casey to wax poetic about their favorite songs from Darius’ catalog.
‘It Won’t Be Like This for Long’
Anyone who is blessed to be a parent knows that long days become short years. Darius Rucker captures that essence perfectly in “It Won’t Be Like This for Long.”
The tone in his delivery of the brilliant writing—Chris DuBois and Ashley Gorley are freaks—is perfect, and triggers a wide range of emotions for me. I appreciate those emotions. “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” is one of those songs that suggests we reach down there deep and live within those emotions for a few moments. That’s not something we let ourselves do every day.
For me, it’s a combination of joy, sadness, fear, worry. My wife Lainie and I sit and stare at photos often—of our little people when they were littler people—and we are sad and we are happy. We miss who they were and we soar with hope for who they’ll be. That’s what that song says to me. And damn does it hit me hard.
Now that you’re finished crying about Marty’s selection, here’s another Darius Rucker track to make you smile through the tears. Choices mean a lot more than you realize when you’re young and dumb. Some of them set you on courses that are one degree off of your intended destination. Others put you on an entirely different highway.
Maybe you realize it right away. Most times, it takes years of perspective for us to realize the significance of those choices and their outcomes. Humans spend so much of their lives looking for purpose. We can’t help but wonder about the point of the circumstances we face. What got us here? Where would we be if things had gone differently?
Darius Rucker’s “This” tells the story that we all hope we can tell. Our choices, and even the things that we didn’t choose, pinball us all into outcomes that we couldn’t have predicted. Your satisfaction with that reality all comes down to your perspective to either appreciate those detours on your map and where they continually lead you . . . or to be bitter about all of your bad breaks and regret the things you can’t change.
Looking at my own personal course, filled with dumb mistakes and unrealized dreams out of my control, I can’t help but smile at the angel that has my heart, and the little one we’ve brought into the world.
‘Let Her Cry’
Now that you’re finished crying through Marty and Wes’ selections, let’s really shed some tears.
First, let me get a few things out of the way. “Let Her Cry” is a country song. Yes, I know it was featured on Hootie & the Blowfish’s 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View. But I’m willing to double Mongolian chop anyone who can’t open their ears to its country aesthetics.
In fact, in 2015, Darius Rucker told me, “If you listen to a bunch of the Hootie records and some of the songs I wrote, you can feel [country] in there. ‘Let Her Cry’ is a perfect example. I say it’s the first country song I wrote because I really believe it’s a country song. So when I came over to country, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything different.”
Not only is “Let Her Cry” a country song, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs. Period. I spin it on vinyl at least once a week. The lyrics are poetic vignettes. Darius’s voice is golden. And the tears fall down like rain.
When Darius begins the final verse—Last night I tried to leave—I summon my inner Hootie with tone-deaf accompaniment that stirs my ’94 nostalgia.
Darius may have been chasing The Black Crowes’ “She Talks to Angels” when he co-penned the tune with his Hootie bandmates, but he was crying tears of joy when Cracked Rear View moved 21 million units to make it one of the Top 10 Best-Selling Albums of All Time. Oh yeah, Hootie & the Blowfish won the Grammy Award for Best
Country Pop Performance by a Duo/Group With Vocals for “Let Her Cry” in 1996. Take that, ya rock snobs who refuse to give Hootie & the Blowfish their due because they weren’t as “badass” as Metallica or Soundgarden (I love both—Cornell is the best vocalist who ever lived). There’s room for it all in my vinyl collection. Spin it and sing it.