Hootie or as the country world knows him, Darius Rucker is like a fine wine.  He just gets better with age.  Darius turns 45 today.

Darius is from Charleston South Carolina, which is the name of his latest country album.  But he didn't begin his music career in country. It started in 1986 at the University of  South Carolina with Hootie & The Blowfish.  The band released 5 albums and had 6 Top 40 hits.  It wasn't until 2008, Darius Rucker decided to change course and record a country album.  Something he's always wanted to do.  Learn to Live gave Darius 4 hits, including 3 number one songs.  His first tune "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" went to #1, making Darius the first African American to chart a #1 since Charlie Pride in 1983.

Darius also was named the CMA New Artist of the year in 2009 .  It's the first time an African American has won that award.

I had the opportunity to see Darius open for Brad Paisley last year at SPAC for his H2O tour.  All I can say is WOW!  He rocked my world, and by the audience reaction, he rocked theirs too.  He did his country songs, his Hootie songs, a Hank Jr tune and even took on Prince.  Welcome to country music Darius!  Glad you came over from the pop side.  Hope you have a long and successful career in country.

Check out his version of "Purple Rain."