Darius Rucker Visits the Town That Started It All

South Carolina Native Visits Columbia for True Believers Tour

South Carolina welcomed native son Darius Rucker for a stop in Columbia on his True Believers tour. During the visit, Rucker took the chance to reminisce with CMT Hot 20 Countdown about his early days in music with Hootie & the Blowfish.

“Every time I come to Columbia, I laugh because it’s hard to believe how long it’s been since we started playing here,” he said. “I mean, not even two blocks down the street is where it all started for us, playing at a little chicken-wing joint over by campus. It’s just wild now. After 30 years and all the ups and downs of my career, here I am making country music. It’s amazing to me that I’ve stuck around this long, and I thank God every day for my career.”

Rucker says it’s still exciting to be onstage, especially in his home state.

“I don’t play in Charleston or Columbia very often,” he admitted. “I don’t think I’ve played in Columbia for five years or something like that, and I haven’t played at a big place in Columbia at all, so it would be hard for me not to get excited.”

Just a few years back, the city of Columbia built a monument in honor of Rucker and his fellow Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates, reminding him of how far he’s come. When the group’s first major album, Cracked Rear View, was released nearly 20 years ago, the singer had no idea it would eventually sell more than 16 million copies or what the future would bring — including a successful career in country music.

“I always said, you know, for decades that I was gonna make a country record someday,” he said. “That was something that I knew I was going to do, but I didn’t know it was going to blow up the way it did.

“First of all, I didn’t know I’d ever have a record deal to do it. And second of all, I didn’t know that my first song out of the gate (“Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” ) is gonna go to No. 1 and then everything’s going to get crazy after that. I mean, this is all gravy. This is something that was so unexpected, and it was just something I was doing as a labor of love for myself. And now for it to be three records in and all the hit songs and awards and all that stuff, it’s crazy.”

For more from the Darius Rucker interview, tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown this Saturday and Sunday (March 1-2) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.