Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Charles Kelley as a Supergroup? Don’t Hold Your Breath Just Yet
Darius Rucker wanted to cut a version of Drivin' N Cryin's '80s classic "Straight to Hell" ever since he moved to Nashville, but it wasn't until Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley suggested that they record the song together that Rucker got the push he needed to include the track on his 2017 album, When Was the Last Time. However, the new version -- and its subsequent music video -- brought Rucker and his collaborators more fun than even they bargained for.
Rucker's version of "Straight to Hell" is a collaboration with Kelley, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, an all-star foursome made in country music heaven, with seamless harmonies, swagger and energy. During the 2018 CMA Music Festival, Bryan, Rucker and Aldean all spoke individually to The Boot and other media outlets about how much fun the song was to record, each specifying that filming the music video was a highlight of the experience.
"When you're friends, you always say, 'Oh, the four of us should hang out sometime!'" Rucker explained backstage at Nissan Stadium. "But there's never really been a day when [Bryan, Aldean, Kelley and I] could just sit all day and do whatever it is we do together."
Rucker added that while filming the video was technically work, it doubled as an excuse for the four friends to hang out: "Man, there was some funny stuff said that day. I was losing my mind laughing," he continues. "That was a fun day, and the video is by far my favorite video I've made in country music. It's just so much fun."
Aldean agrees with Rucker that the process of making the video was something special: "I don't think I've ever had more fun cutting a video -- ever," he says.
"When you can do collaborations [with artists] who, not only are you a fan of their music, but you like them as people and you like hanging out with them, that makes it fun and makes it a good time," Aldean adds.
While Aldean started out as a fan of Rucker's music, their relationship has evolved into a close, personal friendship.
"I was such a fan of Hootie & the Blowfish, first of all, and then I met him and I was like, 'Man, this is one of the nicest people I've ever met," he explains. "Obviously, [Bryan] and I have been friends for a really long time, and [Kelley], too ... It was kind of one of those things where, at every awards show, or if we go out to Vegas and do some gambling after a show or something like that, we always find ourselves in the same place, at the same table, just hanging out together."
Bryan is also quick to sing the praises of Rucker's character: "If you don't like Darius Rucker, you have a serious problem with humanity," he says bluntly, adding that cutting "Straight to Hell" was a full-circle moment that took him back to his early days in music: "When I was playing the college circuit, Drivin' N Cryin' were huge, and Darius [with Hootie & the Blowfish] was huge ...
"You obviously worry about [whether the song will be played on] country radio, if the lyrics are saying 'I'm going straight to hell.' We'll see how that works," Bryan adds. "But the song is fun, and the group of people are fun, so I was happy to get in on it. The video is one of the best videos I've seen in a while. We just had tons of fun dressing up like old cowboy gangsters in an old saloon."
But when asked if other collaborations -- or even a potential supergroup -- might be on the horizon for the foursome, Bryan demurred: "Supergroup?! Oh, I don't know. Doubtful on the supergroup stuff," he says with a laugh. However, Aldean suggests that a long-term collaboration might not be entirely out of the realm of possibilities.
"We've had a lot of ideas floating around that we throw back and forth, and it's something we're kinda talking about, but right now, [Bryan]'s touring, I'm touring, [Lady Antebellum] and [Rucker] are all touring," he says. "We did this first [song] just for fun, to hang out and see what happens with it. If the song takes off and it's a big deal, and if people out there want to see us do something like that, if that's together, then we'll figure it out."
No matter what happens in the future, Rucker says the camaraderie the four artists share is something special, and something that he loves about being part of the country music community.
"It's a community of people who just wanna make music and love each other and really go out of their way to tell each other that they're great," Rucker explains. "You look over in the pop world and you hear questions like, 'What's it gonna cost to get this person on my record?' Here in country music, you just call them up ... What it would cost me in a different genre is pretty crazy, but country music's not like that. People just wanna sing together, and they love the song. It was easy to get them to sing on this record."
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