Darius Rucker Praises Country Music’s Ever-Changing Sound
Country music seems to have a big target on its back lately: There's been heated discussions about bro-country, the #SaladGate incident and plenty of debates about whether any number of artists are "country enough." While many are disgruntled with the current state of country music, Darius Rucker says that he thinks all of the changes are just part of the natural evolution of music.
"I think the people who are sitting in their living room doing those 'Let's take country music back' blogs and all that stuff, that's crazy to me," Rucker tells Rolling Stone Country. "No one's saying that about rock 'n' roll, and no one sounded like the Beatles since 1960. No one says that about R&B, and no one sounded like the Commodores since 1970.
"All of those genres of music are supposed to evolve, but to those people, country music is supposed to be Hank Williams Sr. -- and that stuff is great, and you can have that," Rucker adds. "But I think the great thing about listening to country radio is, you have all different kinds of country music. It's the pop-country music for some guys, it's the really country [sound], and even that bro-country stuff that's out. It's just a little bit of everything, and obviously the fans are loving it."
The South Carolina native says that by focusing on the listeners instead of commercial success, everyone comes out a winner.
"That's what it all comes down to: singing songs that people want to hear," Rucker says. "That's really all it is."
Rucker knows plenty about staying open to all genres of music: He had a successful career as the frontman for '90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish before switching to country music. The Grand Ole Opry member says that with each album, including his recent Southern Style, he just focuses on making good music.
“We wanted to have a little more fun with this record …” Rucker says. “That’s one of the things that really attracted me to [the title track] and made me so proud of it — I had never done anything like this before in country music, I’d never done a big party song before. It brought out a cool side of fun for me.”
Rucker is currently crossing the country on his 2015 Southern Style Tour, with Brett Eldredge, the Brothers Osborne and A Thousand Horses serving as his opening acts. A complete list of dates is available on his website.
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