(5 / 5)
Former front man of mega US band Hootie and the Blowfish and now a big country star, Darius Rucker is back with a brand new album, “When Was The Last Time”.
The man is on fire career-wise – with eight number one country singles in America, and three Grammy wins to his name. Maybe this fifth solo album will make it four. There’s a really good chance…
The multi-platinum selling recording artist teamed up with major league producer Ross Copperman in Nashville, who has previously worked with Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban among many others.
The new album offers up a dozen cuts, and features three superb guests; Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Charles Kelley. A nice bonus, but Ruckers stands on his own two feet very nicely with the quality of the material and performances in this collection.
Having seen this man in concert as part of the Country2Country festival in London a few years ago, when I was taking pictures and reviewing the event for a magazine, I an confirm he is dynamite live, and has a warm and sincere rapport with his audience. On the album, the energy levels and passion, do not disappoint.
We have to wait until track four, for the hit single, “If I Told You,” a chilled ballad ready made for a future boy band cover. His voice fits this song like a glove. He’s a born story teller and “sells” the lyrical content with ease, and makes what he does sound effortless.
The guests pop up on an excellent cover of Drivin’ N Cryin’s song “Straight to Hell” from 28 years ago in 1989. Good-time, up-tempo, feel-good song where the guests and Darius are enjoying themselves.
Memories of my various trips to Nashville over the years, and the main drag Broadway’s touristy honky tonks dotted along that busy road, flashed back, when I heard “Count The Beers”. I am trying to go ‘sober for October’ but now I want a cold one, or three!!! If you are on the Nashville commercial country conveyor belt, you just gotta include a “beer” song on your album. No trace of the current obsession with tractors or trucks here though.
This set sounds as though Darius is utterly comfortable on his own skin, is not chasing trends or hits, and has maybe had more input and creative control than usual. Or maybe it is just that the stars have aligned. But something has seemingly clicked into place and enabled Darius and his producer to create probably his strongest work to date.
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’