Growing up a music fan I loved all types of music, and for some of the early years of my life there was no band bigger than Hootie and the Blowfish. Their 1994 debut album, Cracked Rear View, is to this date the 15th best-selling album of all time in the US, going platinum 16 times.But, like so many other 90's band's their success slowly faded and the band went 0n hiatus in 2008. That meant no more touring, no more records, and of course that all leads to no more major cash flow. Lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker, decided to do the solo thing, but not the solo thing most would have expected. Rucker went country, and it made many think that it was all about the money. I disagree!

Some die hard southerners already disliked Rucker for his out spoken stance on the Confederate flag being removed from his home state of South Carolina's capitol building. Now, he was going to come and play "their music"? Many probably thought at the time that it wasn't going to work or last very long. WRONG! The hits just piled up. As a matter of fact Rucker was the first African American to chart a number one on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983. It was followed by two more number-one singles, "It Won't Be Like This for Long" and "Alright" and the number three "History in the Making". In 2009, he became the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, and only the second African American to win any award from the association. That is all fine and dandy, some still argue that Rucker came into country music at the right time, while it was becoming more pop-like, and that he is not really country.

Truth is, Rucker is country, artists like Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam have always been influences for Rucker. And the country album wasn't made just because Hootie called it quits for awhile, it was something Rucker had planned for awhile and was going to do regardless of what Hootie was doing. On tour Rucker does go pop for a bit, giving fans a Hootie song or two, but he is country, and if you see him you are going to a country show.

Now here is the proof that Darius Rucker is country once and for all. Anybody that nails David Allen Coe like he does is 100% certified country to me!

Darius Rucker will be performing live at Cheyenne Frontier Days Thursday July 28th. K99 is the official Party Zone host, and the show will have a pretty cool opener, Kevin Costner and his band Modern West, yes that Kevin Costner. More info available here, and get some tickets here.