Monday, June 10, 2013
Review: Gone country, Darius Rucker treated DFW audience to Hootie & the Blowfish, too
Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joined Rucker to play keyboards in "Let Her Cry."
GRAND PRAIRIE What started out as a mainstream breakout in the '90s for alt-rock band Hootie & the Blowfish has become a multi-genre journey for the singer formerly known as Hootie. Now, Darius Rucker is all about cowboy boots and country songs. He played to a spirited crowd at Verizon Theatre on Sunday night, making the evening feel more like a relaxing holiday weekend than the night before a new work week.
Thankfully, he managed to showcase his country side without piling on a thick twang. Instead, he told deep-rooted stories about heartbreak and Southern hospitality in songs like “Southern State Of Mind.” Rucker hit home by dedicating one of his few somber, retrospective country tunes, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” to the tornado victims in Moore, Oklahoma. The song was led by a wailing lap steel guitar.
Darius Rucker & Rick Carlisle - “Let Her Cry”
What solidifies this rocker-turned-cowboy’s switch of the hat is his authentic storytelling. His full-bodied vocals transcended genres, and a sincere dose of Southern charm was just the gravy on top. Out of the collage of rock and country covers from the evening, including Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker,” Rucker and his full band stole the show with in Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Let Her Cry.” The wavering, cascading choruses about letting love go magnified Rucker’s heart-warming authenticity.
He continued to keep us guessing through the encore, with his version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” (featured on his newest release, True Believers) and Prince’s “Purple Rain.” If Rucker hadn’t roped audiences in yet, his unbridled rendition of “Purple Rain” should have done the trick. His gritty, tumbling verses gave way to an equally rowdy guitar solo, like a war between lightning and thunder on a warm Texas evening.
Tennessee good ‘ol boy Rodney Atkins warmed up the easy-going crowd with country-fried songs about the important things in life. Whether singing about being a proud father to his son or cleaning his gun while his daughter is on a date, Atkins stayed close to home. His syrupy twang and rough-and-tumble demeanor sold the part, making the crowd chant for more after closing track “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows).”
Actress-turned-singer Jana Kramer’s youthful vigor kick-started the night’s festivities on what is most likely her biggest stage yet. Sweet with a side of sass, Kramer strutted through her single “Why Ya Wanna” like she had been doing it for years.
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