While pop music may have lost one of the its most distinctive and successful vocalists to another genre, the country music world must be feeling pretty proud of itself these days, having scored the skilled musical maestro that is Hootie and the Blowfish front man, Darius Rucker. Trading in his pop hit-making legacy for a country music solo venture 2008, Darius’ change of musical direction seems to have been a wise move, having recently achieved his 3rd #1 solo achievement with new album, True Believers.
Being responsible for hits like Let Her Cry, Hold My Hand and I Only Wanna Be With You, you could be forgiven for being perplexed with Darius’ choice to stray from his pop roots, given his track record within the pop market, but as soon as you hear that voice ring out on the singers brand new album you can understand why this decision was a no-brainer for the Grammy Award winning musician. While a familiarity and nostalgia washes over you, hearing one of the world’s most recognizable vocalists finding his feet within his recently adopted genre, it is clear that country music is a good fit for Darius and a style that comes quite naturally to the musician.
The album’s title track is a gorgeous opening for the new album – it’s meaty intro offers the record some mid-tempo charm with its progressive rhythm and hopeful lyrics as well as a kicking guitar solo nearing the tracks climax while the following Miss You, with its rich, southern brushing through balladry, provides the early half of the record with one of its most commercial and lyrically sentimental inclusions as the singer drapes his vocals over a patchwork of sliding guitars and a hook heavy chorus.
A cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2004 hit Wagon Wheel is the albums highlight having recently secured Darius with his biggest solo hit to date. Performed alongside fellow country superstars Lady Antebellum, the track is given a much more mainstream dressing here. While the track overflows with infectious hooks and a beautifully arranged instrumental accompaniment, a playful fiddle dances through the hit as Darius ties a series of sweet harmonies into the track with his chart topping country-crossover peers. Another subdued offering comes together with the Sheryl Crow duet, Love Without You, a instrumentally stripped back ode to love lost.
Radio injects a groovy, pop scented vein into the centre of True Believers and acts as the records most obvious road trip inspired number – its infectious, toe-tapping melody and fresh, summery backbone providing some perfect sing-along moments here.
Take Me Home is a contrasting addition within True Believers. The track is led by a confident piano as it sashays around some beautiful, soulful harmonies, lifting this track to some sublime peaks before Shine, with its slightly retro key intro, delivers another radio friendly nugget of country mid-tempo balladry into the new collection.
Though the former pop/current country superstar may have had his fair share of doubters, True Believers will no doubt put any skeptics firmly in their place. Though the record at a glance may seem intimidating to those less inclined to listen to a country album, it is quite accommodating to pop fans thanks to the singers distinctive vocals so it won’t be completely foreign territory to Hootie fans who are perhaps less familiar of the world of country music. Having recently secured his 3rd #1 solo album with True Believers, Darius’ solo career appears to be following in the footsteps of his Hootie hey-day.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
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