OFFSTAGE: Darius Rucker Goes “Real, Real” Country

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Even if you never heard the original “Wagon Wheel” from Old Crow Medicine Show ‘s 2004 album, you cannot possibly not know Darius Rucker‘s take on what he calls the perfect bluegrass tune. He performed it walking down the aisle at the 2013 CMT Music Awards on Wednesday (June 5). And right before he did so, I asked him how he made that song his own. “I’d always loved Old Crow’s version, but it’s so bluegrass that I never thought about cutting it. But when I saw my daughter’s teacher playing a country version of it at a school talent show, I knew I wanted to cut it,” he explained. “And that’s where I’m the happiest. When we say, ‘Let’s just go real, real country with it.’ And the best part is [Old Crow's Ketch Secor] told me he was so glad I got it before anyone else.” Rucker also said that was one of the things he tried to do with a few other tunes on his new True Believers album. “Like on ‘Miss You’ and a few of the other ones, we just wanted to be real — and real country. There are so many songs that are just there,” he told me. “I want songs that tell a story — even as sad as that ‘Miss You’ one is — because we can relate to it.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.