The roads around Nashville are littered with the bones of pop or rock stars who chose to “go country,” thinking it would revitalize their nosediving careers. Instead, they got creamed. Nobody cared.
Darius Rucker, who sold 18 million CDs as the lead singer and frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish (but don’t call him Hootie if you know what’s good for you), released his first country album, Learn to Live, in the summer of 2008.
At first it seemed like just another once–proud rocker trying desperately to switch any old gears, but lo and behold, the album went platinum and sent an astonishing three singles to No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart.
That’s probably because the Charleston born and bred Rucker has a warm, familiar voice – perfect for the sort of home–loving, faithful–family songs country fans eat up (for the record, the big ones were “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” and “Alright”).
That’s exactly the quality that attracted rock aficionados of the ‘90s to the anthemic Hootie hits “Let Her Cry,” “Hold My Hand” and “Only Wanna Be With You” (we probably all have a copy of Cracked Rear View somewhere in our homes).
Because of his esteemed rock roots, Rucker the successful country singer is often compared to Kenny Rogers. He also gets compared a lot to Charley Pride, previously the only African–American country performer to achieve major success.
While H & the BF still perform together on occasion, mostly for charity events, Rucker’s focus is squarely on his Nashville career. His never–ending Learn to Live tour brings him for Fort Stewart Friday, July 2 for the annual Independence Day Celebration at Donovan Field East. Listen & learn: www.dariusrucker.com.
En Vogue opens the concert, which will conclude with a fireworks display. Although it is a show for military personnel and their families, it is open to the general public.
At 7 p.m. Friday, July 2 (gates open at 6) at Donovan Field, Fort Stewart, Hinesville. Free.
Retro-country from Orlando, Land of the Mouse, with Craig Roy (upright bass and backing vocals), George Dimitrov (lead guitar), and Joseph Martens (lead vocals and acoustic guitar) and Anthony Cole (drums). Hindu Cowboys remind me of the late, great Mavericks - the coolest country, rockabilly and swingy string-band synthesis of the 1990s - and those guys were based in Miami, so there you go. Location don't mean nothin.' Or think the Train Wrecks with a bit less ferocity. Listen & learn: www.hinducowboys.com.
At 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 30 at the Wormhole Bar, 2307 Bull St.
Critics have said that New Orleans' Eric Lindell embodies "blue-eyed soul," but there's a sweet, Southern vibe to his finger-snapping R&B that reminds me more of Little Feat, Sea Level and even the Sanford-Townsend Band than Hall & Oates. It's slinky, and it's funky, and it's delivered with tight guitars, Hammond B3 organ, saxophone and the crackerjack snap of a deep-fried bass ‘n' drums rhythm section. He is a vocalist with soul - maybe he's got blue eyes, and maybe he doesn't. Listen & learn: www.ericlindell.com.
At 9 p.m. Friday, July 2 at Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $8.
CHECK IT OUT:
Triple metal bill June 30 at the Jinx, with Coliseum (trio from Kentucky), Canada's Burning Love and the Savannah foursome Dead Yet? ... The astounding guitarist Brock Butler (from Perpetual Groove) is in town for his annual summer show at Loco's, Friday, July 2 ... It's all in a name: Bill Hodgson and Todd Shoemaker, from Rhythm Riot, have a new duo act called Bill & Todd's Eggsalad Adventure. They play Wednesdays at Bay Street Blues ... July 2 is the first Friday of the month, and that means a Savannah Folk Music Society show at First Presbyterian Church. Catch the quartet Roll On Rodney, and Bill and Eli Perras, at 7:30 p.m....