Having continuously teased new music as he put the finishing touches on his first solo project in six years, Darius now unveils the highly anticipated final project with today’s release of Carolyn’s Boy. Praised by People in the issue on stands today for having “never left his humble roots in the rear view,” Rucker named the album as an homage to his late mother, a woman he celebrates as the sole reason for “who I am, how I am, what I am.” Listen HERE.
“She believed in me more than I believed in myself,” he shared with Jan Crawford on today’s “CBS Mornings.” “She’d tell me all the time, ‘you’re gonna make it; you’re gonna live your dream. I know you are. I can’t wait.’”
Rucker will further discuss the album and his mother’s influence on this weekend’s episode of “Sunday TODAY” via an exclusive interview with Willie Geist on NBC (check local listings), before bringing a feel-good performance of album track “Have A Good Time” to CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 11:35 p.m. / 10:35 p.m. CT.
The series of television appearances continues what has already been a celebratory week for Rucker, including his induction on the Music City Walk of Fame this Wednesday, Oct. 4, and an intimiate performance that evening at Analog at the Hutton Hotel, taped to air as part of PBS’s “Recorded Live at Analog” series debuting in early 2024.
Captivating audiences with what Billboard praises as “one of the most distinctive voices of country’s modern era” Rucker describes the album six years in the making as his favorite he’s ever released, as Garden & Gun declares, “Carolyn’s Boy contains some of the most emotional, vulnerable music of Rucker’s career” with MusicRow adding that it offers “a beautiful blend of feel-good, fun tunes and deeper, moving numbers.”
From recent No. 1 hit “Beers And Sunshine,” his 10th to top the Country charts and what he describes as a perfect summary of Carolyn’s joyful personality, to current single “Fires Don’t Start Themselves,” lauded by Billboard for “the impressive vocal control and power in his lower register,” and his latest release, “Southern Comfort,” described by Garden & Gun as “evok[ing] a wistful nostalgia that has become one of Rucker’s calling cards,” the project features 14 tracks, 11 of which boast Rucker as a cowriter.
Some of the notable cowriters joining him on the project include global superstar Ed Sheeran for the reflective “Sara,” penned during a trip to London and celebrated by People as “a mid-tempo rumination on the hopes of seeking friendship and comfort in a long-lost connection;” reigning ACM Artist/Songwriter of the Year HARDY for the longing “3am in Carolina;” and longtime friend and Lady A vocalist Charles Kelley for the despairing “7 days.”
In addition, the album sees Rucker join forces with Chapel Hart for the collaborative “Ol’ Church Hymn” while also offering his take on Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” from blockbuster film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, with MusicRow summarizing his rendition as “beautifully produced, spiritually uplifting and soul stirring. It builds to anthem-level intensity before receding into an intimate prayer. Essential.”
The album offers vulnerably insightful songs such as “Sure Would Have Loved Her,” “Stargazing” and “Never Been Over,” lauded by Garden & Gun in yesterday’s exclusive premiere as “[one] of the album’s highlights,” while also offering uplifting reminders to a divided world on tracks such as “In This Together,” “Same Beer Different Problem” and “Have A Good Time.”
In all, the album demonstrates what the Tennessean praises as Rucker’s “Southernness and soulfulness [which] occupy a uniquely American creative identity. His material caresses, not straddles, the intersections of pop’s unique variants.”