Fellow songwriters, musicians and industry executives gathered in downtown Nashville to celebrate Darius Rucker’s latest No. 1 hit, “Beers and Sunshine.”

Written by Rucker, Josh Osborne, Ross Copperman and JT Harding – Rucker’s tenth single to top the country music charts.

They recalled how they wrote the song in the early months of the COVID pandemic. Nashville songwriting sessions typically involve writers meeting physically in a writing room, but during COVID everyone has been forced to take a different approach and brainstorm via Zoom calls.

“We got on Zoom and it was weird, but also so much fun,” Rucker recalls, “because Zoom doesn’t make sense. When you get together in a writing room, you sit down, you talk of your kids, you talk about what’s going on and you take 40 minutes before you start writing. Not on Zoom. On Zoom, it’s like, ‘Let’s write the song!’ »

He says that after they wrote “Beers and Sunshine” they knew it was something special.

“And then Ross (Copperman) went out of his way to record this whole record on Zoom. No one was ever in the room together. Ross would play the drummer, then he would play the bassist, and when it was all over, he was playing my voice on Zoom.

“Beers and Sunshine” may be the first song written and recorded on Zoom to reach No. 1 on the country charts.

Rucker seems determined to make history. “Beers and Sunshine” follows other charts such as “Don’t think I don’t think about it”, “It won’t be like this for long” and “Okay”, to name a few. .

He says it’s almost hard to believe how far he’s come as a country artist.

“It’s quite exciting. Because I didn’t expect much from the start, then I had success from the start and now 16 years later, ten No. 1s. It’s pretty amazing.

And now his mega-hit “Wagon Wheel” has officially sold over 11 million copies (streaming and sales combined). It still sells so fast that label executives didn’t get a chance to commemorate its attainment of RIAA Diamond status (which is 10 million copies), before it sold another million.

NBC “Today Show” host Craig Melvin, a friend of Rucker’s and another South Carolina native, traveled to Nashville to mark the occasion.

“When they said Darius had achieved something with ‘Wagon Wheel,’ which only four songs in country music history had achieved, I thought to myself, I have to be there. That’s history in the making. to be done.”

Melvin pointed out that Rucker’s superstar status as a country music artist follows his longtime success as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish with pop hits like “Hold My Hand”, “Let Her Cry” and “I Only Want to Be with You”. ”

“It’s another thing to have a major crush twice,” Melvin said. “And it did for him.”

Melvin also touched Rucker’s heart for ‘giving back’, with his support of over 200 charities, and his reputation for not only donating money, but also ‘showing up’ to help and volunteer his time. .

Noting the success of “Wagon Wheel,” UMG Nashville Chairman and CEO Mike Dungan – who signed Rucker to his record deal years ago – explained that “Wagon Wheel” was the idea of Rucker from the start. He recounted how Rucker called him one night at his daughter’s talent show in Baltimore where Rucker saw teachers, counselors, and caretakers perform the song. Dungan described the brief conversation:

“Darius goes, ‘Hey man,’ do you know that song, Wagon Wheel?”

I said, ‘Yeah.’

He goes, ‘Hey man, ‘I’m going to cut it.’

I said, ‘I don’t know if that’s a song anyone should ever try to cover.’

Darius said, “I’ll cut,” and he hung up.

As Dungan turned to look at Rucker, Rucker laughed and said, “You weren’t saying what I wanted you to say.”

Dungan nods, then says, “And my God, he was right.”

Rucker, who credits much of the song’s success to Lady A adding vocals and the work of producer Frank Rogers in the studio, says he never imagined it would become such a big hit. He just loved the song and wanted people to hear it. Now wherever he goes he gets a tremendous response, even during a recent performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

“Wagon Wheel is now part of the lexicon,” laughs Rucker. “When I play it, people lose their minds, like they did the other night at the Opry. When we got to this song, everyone got up and started dancing. How much many times does this happen at the Opry?”

As he celebrates the final milestones of his career, Rucker remains both humbled and grateful. He says all he wanted when he got to Nashville was the chance to make his own county album.

“It was a labor of love, and I would have done it even if I didn’t have a recording contract. I came here because I wanted to make music. And I can’t thank you enough guys for the life you gave me.

Rucker is currently hard at work on a new album which will be released early next year. He has a new single titled “Ol Church Hymn” featuring Chapel Hart.

Chances are he will add to this No 1 list.

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