Darius Rucker is crossing the country as a special guest on Lady Antebellum's Own the Night tour and is perfectly happy to be taking the stage each night before his Capitol Records labelmates. For someone who once sold out stadiums as the frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, it may be an adjustment to no longer be the headlining act, but he insists he is happy to take a back seat for the award-winning trio.
"Sitting there watching them, they're kids," Darius tells CBS Local. "Just watching them go through something I've been through, watching them enjoy it -- it's fun for me. I love going out there. Playing in front of their audience has been a lot of fun."
The 46-year-old fills his time on stage with several of his own hits, plus a few of Hootie's most well-known tunes. "My favorite song to play will always be 'Let Her Cry.' Always," notes the South Carolina native. "I remember writing that song and I remember the whole circumstance of that day. That song will always be special to me."
Also on Darius' must-play list? An unlikely Prince hit from almost 30 years ago. "'Purple Rain' is one of my favorite cover songs to play," he admits. "I still can't believe Hootie never played that. It took me becoming a country band to play. It's one of those songs that I don't think I can stop playing it. I didn't play it at one of my shows and on the internet the next day, everybody was mad because I didn't play 'Purple Rain.' If I have to play that song the rest of my life, I'm cool with that."
The married father of three may be a seasoned performer, but he still feels a bit of trepidation each time he takes the stage. "Most nights I'm thinking, 'Are they having fun?' That's really all that matters to me, if the crowd is having fun," he notes. "I know we're having fun because I know everyone I play with, we're just so happy that we're playing music for a living that we're going to go out there and have fun. My worry is, 'Is the audience having fun?'"
Darius, who is juggling time on the road with working on a new album, recently raised $121,000 for St. Jude Children's Hospital, with his Darius & Friends Golf Tournament and Benefit Concert. Keep up with his concert schedule here.