Events

Carl Black Presents Kicks 101.5 Country Fair w/ Darius Rucker & More

Saturday

Sep 23, 2017 – 5:30 PM

2200 Encore Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009 Map

  • Darius Rucker
  • Randy Houser

More Info

Darius Rucker: Every now and then comes along a singer who can continuously reinvent themselves, break barriers, and create music that resonates. Darius Rucker is that versatile artist. He set records as a rocker with Hootie & the Blowfish, transitioned into the jazz-R&B world, and, most recently, has become a country music superstar.

Darius Rucker got his start as the frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, which formed as students at the University of South Carolina. Their debut album, "Cracked Rearview Mirror", is currently ranked as the 15th best selling album of all time in the United States and the best selling debut for any act. With the band, who are also his lifelong friends, they released seven studio albums and are currently on a permanent hiatus while pursuing other interests. The band became a household name and they toured and continue to perform for benefits and at other scheduled events.

In 2001, Rucker signed with independent Jazz-R&B label Hidden Beach Recordings to produce an R&B album. The album "Back to Then" was released in 2002 and featured famed neo-soul artist Jill Scott on production. While the album was a modest success for the label, it didn't match the acclaim that Rucker had experienced with Hootie & The Blowfish and he didn't release any more records with the label.

While his R&B career may have floundered, Rucker made a surprising turn as a country artist in 2008 when he signed to Capitol Records. He co-wrote and produced his first single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", and released it in 2008. It was an instant hit and reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts. He released his debut country album, "Learn to Live", in 2008 with production help from Frank Rogers who has worked with such artists as Brad Paisley. Rucker's accomplishment made him the first African-American country artist to have a top 20 hit since Charley Pride in 1988. Rucker's album was certified platinum by the RIAA and also produced the #1 singles "Alright" and "It Won't Be Like This For Long", which distinguished him as the first country artist to have his first three singles reach #1 since Wynonna in 1992. Rucker's success was solidified when he received the Country Music Association award for New Artist of the Year in 2009!

Rucker returned to the studio to record his highly anticipated sophomore follow-up. The album, "Charleston, SC 1966", was released in October, 2010, and featured the #1 single "Come Back Song". The second single "This", written by Rucker and Kara DioGuardi also reached #1 on the charts. Rucker experienced similar success with his third album, True Believers; the album shot to the top of the country charts, and even debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. The album became so successful that Rucker was invited to join the Grand Ole' Opry in 2012, and his cover of "Wagon Wheel" featured on the album won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance. To date, Rucker is only the third African American to win a vocal award in the country music category.

After releasing the successful Southern Style, and the Christmas album Home for the Holidays, Rucker began to focus less on his music career and more in his partnership in MGC Sports. The sports agency represents a number of athletes across different sports, and makes use of Rucker's passion for sports as well as his numerous connections with famous athletes like Tiger Woods.

Randy Houser: “I can’t hold back,” Randy Houser says of the passion and power he delivers with every song, every album, every live show of his momentous career. “I close my eyes and sing like I’m in my bedroom and no one’s watching. I sing it like God is coming out of me.” The man speaks from experience: eight years removed from his debut album, continually adding new achievements to his impressive resume, the mammoth-voiced Houser remains pounding the pavement as hard as ever, forever hitting the stage with venom, kicking up dust, scratching out those vibrant songs and colorful albums that showcase just how far this Mississippi man has come.

“I’m a songwriter. I’ve made my living that way,” Houser explains. And while the country star has started headlining arenas in select markets across the country, toured alongside some of the biggest acts in country music and unveiled chart-busting new music with seeming ease, Houser’s passion, his drive, all boils down to the singer-songwriter’s innate ability to write and perform those spine-tingling country songs that lodge themselves in your brain. Enter Fired Up: Houser’s fourth album, due on March 11 via Stoney Creek, and arguably his most fully realized effort yet. “There’s not much edification for me these days to write a song strictly for a paycheck,” Houser explains. “When you listen to the record, you’re not just getting a bunch of hit songs; you get to learn a little bit about me, too.”

If Fired Up feels like a meticulously plotted album, born of sweat and hard work, it’s because Houser takes his craft with the utmost seriousness. Never one to release new music until it’s primed and ready, when not on the road Houser spent the past few years in and out of Nashville studios, recording batches of songs at a time, crafting a 17-track LP that details his winding course through music and life. “The songs just kept stacking up,” he says of the recording process. “The only deciding factor for me of when an album is done is when you run out of time.” Ever since releasing his groundbreaking 2013 album, How Country Feels, fans have been clamoring for new music from the man Rolling Stone Country says possesses a “monstrous country voice,” but as evidenced on the album – whether in the crisp, pounding rhythm of opening track “Back” or the hard-won wisdom spun throughout the road-warrior anthem of lead single “We Went,” which is currently in the Top 5 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart – it’s clear Houser’s patience and persistence paid off.

Carving out a name for himself as an introspective, canny songwriter, Houser continually lays bare his hard-fought journey to the top in his music. “Just like I did the day before/I gave my all and a little more/ I earned my pay and walked out that door,” Houser sings with winsome charm on the bluesy retrospective rocker “Little Bit Older.” On “Senior Year,” Houser elegantly paints a vivid portrait of small-town America, love, charm and gritty character. “It’s having the only thing you care about beside you,” he wails, a tough-as-nails troubadour unburdening himself at every turn.

“The songs that I want to write these days are the ones that are more uniquely my story,” Houser explains. “What comes out comes out. It’s almost a leap of faith every night.” Houser’s desire to connect with his audience is why so many in country music have honored the man Taste of Country dubbed “one of the top vocal talents in Nashville” and who earned a 2015 CMA Song of the Year nomination for “Like A Cowboy.”

“Whenever I walk on that stage, I go into a complete other gear,” says Houser, all hard-charging bravado, fiery energy and arena-shaking voice onstage. “I lose myself in it for awhile. It’s really just the best escape that I can have.

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