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Darius Rucker: Monumental Moment In Time

Darius Rucker photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.

When Darius Rucker put together his second country album, he decided to title it Charleston, SC 1966 as a method of paying tribute to one of his biggest influences in country music: Radney Foster.

Radney came to prominence in the late 1980s as one-half of a duo, Foster & Lloyd, and in recent years, he’s earned success as a songwriter of Sara Evans’ “A Real Fine Place To Start” and Keith Urban’s “Raining On Sunday” and “I’m In.” But Radney’s also a fine solo performer, and his first album after leaving Foster & Lloyd was named after the city and year of his birth, Del Rio, Texas 1959.

Darius’ Charleston, SC 1966 very closely resembles that template, a sort of monument to Radney’s inspiration, which led Darius to discover a whole world of country sounds.

“That was a light switch record for me,” Darius told The Oklahoman. “I mean, I had loved country music up to that point, and … I had New Grass [Revival] and Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam and these bands that I thought were great. When I heard that record, it was like ‘Man, I could sing this. You know, I could do this someday.’ And that is when I started telling anybody that’d listen, ‘I’m gonna make a country record someday.’”

Even while Darius paid homage to Radney with the Charleston title, the city of Columbia, S.C., decided to pay tribute to Darius and his bandmates in Hootie + The Blowfish. A monument of steel and granite was put up last month just a few blocks from the University of South Carolina. It was, to say the least, unexpected.

“We were a bar band that got lucky, and yeah, we try to give back to our community,” Darius said. “We try to do as much as we can to help South Carolina. But we just didn’t expect a monument — especially while I was still alive. It’s really fun to be 44 years old and there’s a monument in my state erected for me and my buddies. That’s pretty cool.”

Darius will likely spend the bulk of the next few weeks back home in Carolina, resting before the new tour year starts up again with a Jan. 3 performance in New Orleans. You can catch him Monday, though, on ABC’s “CMA Country Christmas.” Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles hosts the 90-minute special with LeAnn Rimes, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town and Kellie Pickler, among others.

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