Already have an account?
Get back to the

Darius Rucker Releases a New Album Honoring His Mom

The country music superstar opens up about his most personal album to date in an intimate conversation

When country music star Darius Rucker names an album after his beloved mother, you know the songs are bound to be special. And let’s just say the baritone crooner’s mom would have definitely been proud of his amazing tribute, Carolyn’s Boy.

“It’s probably the most personal record I’ve ever written,” Rucker says of the set, which releases Friday, Oct. 6 via Universal Music Group Nashville and includes collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Chapel Heart and more. “So many things have been going on in the world and in my life in the last six years that I just kept writing songs about, and once I decided to name it Carolyn’s Boy, the personal songs seemed to rise to the top of the heap. This is pretty personal, but I love that. I love telling the truth.”

Carolyn’s Boy is Rucker’s seventh solo album. The 57-year-old Charleston, South Carolina native rose to prominence in the music industry as the lead vocalist for Hootie & the Blowfish, the Grammy winning rock band known for such hits as “Only Wanna Be with You”, “Hold My Hand” and “Let Her Cry.” The band has sold more than 25 million albums and their album Cracked Rear View is among the top ten best-selling studio albums of all time.

Hootie and the Blowfish
Hootie and the Blowfish (Left to right): Mark Bryan, Darius Rucker, Jim Sonefeld, and Dean Felber, 1995Dana Frank/Getty

In 2008, Rucker opened a new creative chapter with the release of his first country album. Since then, he’s earned four No. 1 albums on the country chart and served up such memorable hits as “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, “Alright”, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” “Come Back Song” and “Wagon Wheel.”

Rucker has become a superstar in the country music community. He’s a member of the Grand Ole Opry, he co-hosted the 2020 CMA Awards and he’s raised over $3.6 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament. Earlier this week (Oct.4) Rucker was inducted into Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame and in 2024, Rucker will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Here Woman’s World sat down with Darius Rucker to talk about Carolyn’s Boy, his first new album in six years, collaborating with Ed Sheeran, his memories of his beloved mom and what he’s doing next.

Woman’s World: Since this album was named for your mom, would you please tell us about her?

Darius Rucker: Mom never got to see any of my success. She died [in 1992] before any of this happened. . .she was my biggest supporter. She was always in my corner. She always believed that I was going to make it probably a lot more than I did. . . I was in the studio having — having a bad mental health day — and I sat down at one point and I just said to myself that really at the end of the day, I’m just my mama’s boy. And that was the day, that was when I decided to name it Carolyn’s Boy. That was an epiphany for me and that helped a lot.

WW: How did you select that picture of your mom for the cover?

Darius Rucker: Once I decided I was going to name the album Carolyn’s Boy, I knew the picture I was going to use. That’s our favorite family picture. Every family member has that picture in their house. My mom was 25 at the time. I think it’s her nursing school picture and we all have it. It’s been there my whole life.

WW: What traits do you feel like you got from your mother?

Darius Rucker: She instilled everything in me that’s good — my philanthropy, the way I care about people, being nice all the time. Those are all things [from] my mom. My mom used to say all the time, “It’s so much easier to be nice than to be a jerk.” Everything good in me she instilled in me. I always believe and I hope that I became the man that she was trying to raise.

Darius (left) with his mother (center holding a rose) in the 1980s@dariusrucker/instagram

WW: Which song on the album would have been your mom’s favorite?

Darius Rucker: On this album, “Ol’ Church Hymn,” no doubt about it. She would’ve loved that song. She would’ve thought that was just a great thing. And having Chapel Hart on it, she would’ve loved that too. I saw [sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and their cousin Trea Swindle] before they were on America’s Got Talent. I saw them on Twitter. They were singing “Jolene” and I freaked out and slid into their DMs. I was like, “Hey, I got this song I just finished. You guys want to be on my record?”

And of course, Trea sent back a message, “Who is this? This is not Darius because he does not want us on his record.” I had to convince them that it was actually me and I did want them on my record. “Ol’ Church Hymn” is a song my mom would have just adored.

Darius Rucker with Chapel Heart
Darius Rucker with group Chapel Heart, 2023@dariusrucker/Instagram

WW: You wrote the song “Sara” with Ed Sheeran, Joel Crouse and Kyle Rife. How did you come to write with Ed Sheeran?

Darius Rucker: Ed and I met when he came over with Taylor [Swift] the first time, like 14 years ago. We talked about writing for a while with some friends and we just talked about it. And then finally just one day I said, “Forget it, I’m just going to come to England and write with you.” We went there and we were writing, and he asked me who was my first love. I told him it was my fifth-grade girlfriend, Sara. And then he asked me a lot more stuff about it and we sat down at the end of the day to write that song.

That song, for me, is so special and it was Ed’s idea. The best part of it is that there’s so many love songs. There are so many breakup songs, but there aren’t very many friendship songs and that’s something I love about it. It says “I don’t want to be anything but your friend. I just want to see my friend that I haven’t seen in a long time,” and I love it.

WW: You salute your roots in a song called “Southern Comfort.” What does that song mean to you?

Darius Rucker: I love that song! I’m a Southerner through and through. I lived in New York for two years and I’ll never forget this as long as I live. I bought the apartment without seeing it. I just walked in the first day and the first thing I said when I saw apartment was, “I’m way too southern to be living in this town.” [laughs] But “Southern Comfort,” for me, is just talking about the places and the things that mean a lot to me in the South. It’s a fun song and I’m looking forward to playing it live. It’s about all the great things that I love about this part of the country.

WW: In the video for your single “Fires Don’t Start Themselves,” you get to do some acting. Did you enjoy that?

Darius Rucker: “When they told me I was going to play a detective, I put on my inner Stabler — [Christopher Meloni’s character Elliot Stabler on Law & Order] because I’m such a Law & Order and CSI fan — and went out and did it. And the girl I worked with; she was so fun. She was so funny. And that donut scene, when I see it, there’s no words. It still makes me laugh every time I see it. But yeah, that was a lot of fun and I’d love to do a lot more of that, but we’ll see if it comes. If it comes, I’ll take it. If not, I’ll keep doing this music thing and be happy about that.”

WW: Why did it take six years to make a new Darius Rucker album?

Darius Rucker: For this album, I didn’t feel like I was in a rush. . . I wanted to write songs. I knew I wanted songs that were important to me and personal to me, and so I just took my time. I’m at a really good point in my life where I just like to enjoy it. I work and I love to work, but I also like to put the work down and just go be Dad or go play golf or just be a normal human being for a little while.

WW: Coming from one of the world’s most successful rock bands, did it take you a while to feel comfortable in country music?

Darius Rucker: Coming [to Nashville] 16 years ago as the outsider, it took me a minute before I felt comfortable. And then I felt comfortable after a couple of years and then the Opry [induction] happened and I felt like I was part of it.

But this record really seems like I’m becoming one of the elder statesmen now. I’ve been here for almost 16 years I’ve been doing this, and it just feels right. It just feels like a no-brainer now. There’s no trepidation. Oh, I just used “trepidation” in the sentence — I’m so proud of myself right now [laughs]. But there’s no bad parts to it. It’s just like now I’m part of the landscape. I’m part of what country music is now and that makes me very proud.

WW: You are hosting your second annual Riverfront Revival Music Festival in your hometown Charleston on Oct. 7 & 8th. How does it feel to be back for a second year?

Darius Rucker: I’ve always wanted to have my own festival. Last year we finally started one in Charleston, and it was a big success and this year we got such great bands. And when we called Lainey Wilson, she actually said that the reason she wanted to do it is because the lineup was so strong and that made me feel so good. And she is just a superstar. Her voice is amazing and she writes these cool songs. But the thing that I love is when you’re around her, she just brightens the room. She’s such a great person and she makes me laugh. She’s always smiling. Lainey Wilson’s a superstar and there’s nothing but up for her and I’m so glad and proud to have her at my festival.

WW: What should people see and do in Charleston when they visit?

Darius Rucker: The beaches! Everybody should go, and if you’re visiting Charleston, you should take a history tour. If you’re going to eat there’s FIG. [The gnocchi] is my favorite dish in the world! Then there’s Halls [Chophouse], The Obstinate Daughter, all these places are extraordinary.

That’s the one thing about Charleston that we pride ourselves on is our restaurants are the best. They’re some of the best in the world. It’s a really good foodie city. It’s a good walking city. It’s a good historic city and the best thing part about Charleston is the people are the nicest people. I love living there and I love being from there.

WW: When you’re home, how do you spend your downtime?

Darius Rucker: When I’m home, I don’t do much. And my idea of unwinding is having the kids [Carolyn, 28, Daniella, 22 and Jack, 18] around, playing golf with the kids or playing video games or watching a movie or just going somewhere. When I’m off the road, all I want to do is hang out with all of my kids or one of my kids and that’s really all I have time for. I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I don’t have a lot of things I do. I just want to be around them because my job takes me away from them so much. I love to be in their presence. I’ve got three great kids.

For more country music, keep reading…

Travis Tritt’s Gospel Album Is Out Now — Discover the Moving Story of How His Mother Inspired Him to Make It

80s Country Songs, Ranked: 10 Heartfelt Hits That Defined The Decade

The Top 20 Patriotic Country Songs That’ll Make You Feel Proud to be an American

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.