“It’s not the twang that makes it country, it’s the lyrics,” Darius Rucker told Radio.com. “Country music for me is being able to tell a story.”
Rucker knows this firsthand, as he grew up entrenched in country music and is releasing his third country album, True Believers, today (May 21). In our Radio.com Essentials profile, Rucker broke down country music stereotypes and explained the stories behind many of the songs on his new album, while Entertainment Weekly‘s Grady Smith provided some back story on the former Hootie & the Blowfish singer. Watch below.
It’s a common answer to the question, “What type of music do you like?”: “I like everything but country.” But Rucker, who himself encountered great success in the mainstream with rock before segueing to country, pleas with music fans who respond this way.
“To have that stereotype of my dog died or my wife left me, that whole stereotype that they love to live with,” he explained, “every time I hear somebody say that ["I like everything but country] I say, ‘Take one day and listen to country.’”
As for those who claim country music is all about the same tired lyrical themes of Southern living, Rucker counters that he sings about what he knows.
“For me, I don’t sing about pickup trucks and stuff like that because that’s not a life I lived,” he said. “Clichés are clichés, there are a lot of guys that don’t write about that stuff but there are a lot of guys that do and it works.”
Instead, Rucker’s goal is to relate, with the added hope of pushing the envelope this time around. Though he partnered again with producer Frank Rogers, who also worked on 2008’s Learn to Live and 2010’s Charleston, SC 1966, the two tried to step away from the last two albums and simply find the best songs they could to create a new sound.
“I think this is the best record I’ve ever recorded,” Rucker said. “I’m excited for people to hear it, for country music fans and music fans in general to hear it. I hope they get a song or two or three that makes them go, ‘Man, that’s my life.’ That’s why I write songs.”