Four years ago, Darius Rucker released his first country single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," shedding his Hootie & the Blowfish persona. After a string of No. 1 country hits, the singer-songwriter admits he isn't ready to say goodbye to his beloved band.

"There's one more Hootie record and tour that we're going to do," Darius reveals to Billboard magazine. "I don't know when, because country music is my day job -- it's what I want to do. We'll probably always be a band. We've got two shows in August, we do about four or five dates a year. We'll do another album and tour for a year, then I'll be right back to this music."

During his time in Nashville, though, the South Carolina native has been surprised to learn how much "this music" has been influenced by his band's. "It's amazing to me," he notes. "When [Lady Antebellum's] Charles Kelley and I first met, he sent me a video of him at 13 with his brother [Josh Kelley] and one of their friends, and they're playing 'Hold My Hand.' The first thing that Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show told me when we met was, 'I told my sister you were doing my song ['Wagon Wheel'], and she said, 'no way,' because that record was so big in our house. She just didn't believe it."

That being said, with the progression of sounds, Darius believes if Hootie & the Blowfish was to debut today, the group wouldn't be heard on the same radio stations that premiered "Hold My Hand" in 1994. "We'd have to be a country band today," he admits. "I thought we were as close to country music as you could be then. That's why I thought when I started doing my country records that I wasn't doing anything different."

You can see Darius do his "country records" during his tour stop tonight (July 27) in Fredericksburg, Va. Keep track of his tour dates here.

Watch an Interview with Darius

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