Darius Rucker readies second country album
By Deborah Evans Price
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Darius Rucker admits that the pressure's on, but he doesn't mind.
The first three singles from his 2008 Capitol Records Nashville debut, "Learn to Live," hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The album itself debuted at No. 1 on Top Country Albums and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Rucker's hot streak continued when he won the Country Music Association new artist of the year award last November.
As a result, expectations are high for his follow-up Capitol set, "Charleston, SC 1966," due October 12. "I took the same approach as I did with the first one: Don't try to force it, just write, write and write until you have the songs you like -- until you are happy," the longtime Hootie & the Blowfish frontman says about crafting his second country album. "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I felt pressure, but it wasn't like I could do anything else than what I already do."
When his previous album's first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," debuted in May 2008, few would have predicted Rucker would enjoy such success in the country format. Rucker overcame both the race barrier and the stigma against pop/rock acts trying to break into country.
Until Rucker crossed over, Charley Pride was the only African-American artist to achieve major success in the country format.
Concerning the dearth of African-American acts in country music, Rucker says, "I definitely don't think it's as big of an issue as it used to be. I really believe that if you can get a president at the label who believes in you and you have a few great songs, then you can have a career in country music. I'm doing it."
Rucker approached his entry into the country genre like a newcomer to the industry, doing extensive radio promotional visits and winning over programmers with his knowledge of and obvious love for country music. Continued...