Darius Rucker and Wife Beth Decide to Consciously Uncouple

On Saturday afternoon (July 11), Darius Rucker and his wife Beth shared the unexpected news that they were getting divorced.

“Beth and I would like to share that after much reflection we have made the decision to consciously uncouple. We remain close friends and parenting partners and continue to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Our priority will always be our beautiful family. We have so much love in our hearts for each other and will continue to encourage growth and expansion in one another.

“Please be kind as we take on this journey, and we thank you for your love and support always,” they wrote, signing the post together as Darius and Beth Rucker.

The Ruckers married in 2000, and have two children together, daughter Daniella Rose and son Jack. Rucker also has an older daughter Carolyn from a previous relationship. Rucker first met Beth (Leonard) when she was working at VH1 and he was at the height of his Hootie & the Blowfish career. They were married between his 1998 Musical Chairs and 2003 Hootie & the Blowfish albums. The family’s primary residence is just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.

@alisonbonaguro

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Darius Rucker Admits That “Everything Is Not Okay”

You can watch this clip of Darius Rucker on the 3rd hour of the Today show from Friday (July 10) for a few different reasons.

1. To hear his laugh. It never, ever gets old.

2. To hear him talk about his new song “Beers and Sunshine,” the only B.S. he needs right now. He wrote the summertime tune with Ross Copperman, Josh Osborne and J.T. Harding.

3. To hear him get real about racism. Very, very real.

Rucker and NBC News’ Harry Smith sat down after playing some golf at the Troubadour Golf and Field Club about 25 miles south of downtown Nashville, and when the conversation turned to the Black Lives Matter movement and what it’s truly like to feel the harsh realities of racism, Rucker didn’t shy away from the topic. In fact, he said that being able to see racism through the eyes of his children has opened his eyes even more.

“Watching them go through this? Wow. I think they’re just at an age now where they look have to at it,” Rucker explained. “I’ve lived with racism my whole life. It made me realize that I just can’t keep living my life like everything is okay. Because everything is not okay. Really, you get to the point where you go, ’That’s just how it is.’ When I was going to radio stations and you’ve got guys telling me, ’We’re never gonna play you because you’re a black guy.’ Okay. That’s just the way it is.

“I can’t let somebody say something they shouldn’t say. One sentence could end your career in country music. Proven. Look at the Dixie Chicks,” he added, recalling the backlash the Chicks faced when frontwoman Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that President George W. Bush was from Texas. In London. In 2003. And the band still has haters even now, more than 17 years later.

“I’m sure I’ve already lost fans. I can’t live like that anymore,” Rucker says.

He even admitted that people might think that racism goes away when you’re a rich black man. But it doesn’t, he said. “I mean there are people who hate you more because you’re rich. My son is the youngest, and he’s about to start driving. And all the time we have to talk about: ’You get stopped, keep your hands on the wheel, don’t do anything until they tell you to do it.’ We’ve seen so many times when something as innocent as a traffic stop (happens) and all of the sudden someone gets shot. I don’t want that for my boy. I don’t want that for my daughter. I don’t want that for anybody,” he said.

As further proof that money doesn’t eliminate racism, Rucker talked about being stopped by police himself. Until the police recognize him and then suddenly everything is cool.

“I got stopped because I was a black guy in an expensive car. Okay. But it’s happened a million times. And the thing is, it’s not going to change until enough people say it’s wrong.

“It feels like so much of the country really wants some kind of change. So for me it feels different, and I hope I’m right.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.

@alisonbonaguro

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The Jimmie Allen Collaboration Conversation About Tim McGraw, Charley Pride, Brad Paisley and More

Jimmie Allen certainly isn’t the only country artist to collaborate with another country artist. But he may very well be the first one to build an entire EP around the idea that two is better than one.

So when Allen and I had the chance to talk — virtually, obviously — about his brand new Bettie James EP, my first question was why. As in, why not keep all the songs all to yourself?

“Because I feel like 90 percent of every song that’s in the world — no matter the genre — is a collaboration between writers and producers and artists. So I wanted to take that approach on a whole album. There’s something so magical about collaborating with other people,” Allen told me, “and I was like, ’I want to collaborate on not just the writing but the delivery as well.’

“Different voices can really amplify certain songs, and help them reach their full potential.”

Once Allen told me that, I wanted to know everything that went into the making of Bettie James.

CMT.com: Knowing how much you treasure country music and all the people who make it, how did you decide which artist to invite to sing with you on each song?

Allen: The crazy thing is, I could hear their voices on it. Like when I wrote “Days Made For These,” it was like I could hear Tim McGraw’s voice on it. When I wrote “Freedom Was A Highway,” it just screamed Brad Paisley to me. And then “Drunk and I Miss You” sounded like Mickey Guyton. And “Why Things Happen” was the Darius Rucker and Charley Pride song I’d been waiting on. Then when I listened to “When This Is Over,” I heard all these voices in my heard. I could hear all of them on that one: The Oak Ridge Boys, Rita Wilson, and Tauren Wells.

So it was like a voice in your head guiding each collaboration?

It kind of was. It was like an internal speaker box talking to me and pointing me in right direction with which artist. It kind of worked itself out.

I know you’re a fan of everyone you worked with on this album, right? So can you tell me your favorite song from each of these country artists?

Tim McGraw: It’s so hard to pick. It would either be “Just to See You Smile” or “Humble and Kind.”

Brad Paisley: I think his best song is “Letter to Me.”

Charley Pride: See, with Charley, I listened to a lot of songs that weren’t singles. His deep cuts. But I also loved all the hits like “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger,” “Just Between You and Me,” “I’m Just Me,” “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” and then I loved his “Crystal Chandelier.”

Rita Wilson: “Where’s My Country Song,” because she nailed that one. But I also love “Broken Man” and “Let Me Be.”

Darius Rucker: My favorite was his “Alright,” but I also really loved his first country single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”

Mickey Guyton: “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” That song. Holy. Crap. That song right there is just the best. But I also love her “Heartbreak Song” and “Better Than You Left Me.”

The Oak Ridge Boys: Well, “Elvira” of course. But my all-time favorite was their “Y’all Come Back Saloon.”

It sounds like your love for country music goes deep. But you probably never pictured yourself having to record these seven songs in such a socially distanced way, right?

I did not. But it was okay. The songs were mostly written pre-quarantine, but then we all had to record our parts separately. Brad did his at his home studio, Rita did hers in in LA, Mickey recorded in Nashville, and the Oak Ridge Boys did it at the same studio where I recorded all of mine, at Eric Torres’ studio The Couch Room right on Music Row.

And not only did you make this music during the pandemic, now you’re releasing it during the pandemic. What does that feel like for you as the artist and as a producer?

I actually feel like, in a way, this is an advantage. It’s a a time when people are needing some sort of entertainment to take them away from everything going on, just for a while. And also it helps to have songs that will remind everyone to use this time and make the best of it. And I also feel like there’s not a lot of commotion going on that would take people’s attention away from the music. People are just looking for something to listen to.

That’s certainly a silver lining to this cloud we’re living through right now. You must be an optimist. So how are you personally staying sane throughout the lockdown?

I’ve been quarantining in Nashville, which is fine, but I try to take the tour bus down to Florida or to Delaware every three weeks to go fishing. That’s helped me a lot.


Bettie James is out now. Here is the full track list:

1. “Good Times Roll,” Jimmie Allen, Nelly
2. “Drunk and I Miss You,” Allen, Mickey Guyton
3. “Days Made For These,” Allen, Tim McGraw
4. “Freedom Was A Highway,” Allen, Brad Paisley
5. “Why Things Happen,” Allen, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker
6. “When This Is Over,” Allen, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tauren Wells, Rita Wilson
7. “This Is Us,” Allen, Noah Cyrus

Hear Allen and McGraw on “Days Made for These”:

Embedded from www.youtube.com.
Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.

@alisonbonaguro

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