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“Hey Mama, Rock Me” — Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel” should make a True Believer out of any Hootie-loving holdouts

I’m already a huge fan of Darius Rucker, whether he’s performing with Hootie and the Blowfish or as a chart-topping country solo songwriter. And though I’m always more interested in originals, this cover he chose to record of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” should convert many who haven’t yet jumped onto his solo bandwagon. The song totally fits where Rucker comes from as a down home South Carolina boy born and bred, and should prime the pump for all the great songs we can expect to reside on True Believer when it comes out later this spring. Hell, Rucker sounds way more comfortable on songs like this than he had on any Hootie single of the last decade.

Even the way he stumbled on the song in the first place has a great feel to it (thanks to The Boot for the great quote!)

“Somebody had played ‘Wagon Wheel’ for me years ago,” Darius explains. “It was one of those things that I didn’t really get. So, I’m at my daughter’s high school talent show, and I’m sitting in the audience with my family. We were watching my daughter, and the faculty band gets up. It’s just the faculty from her school, and they play ‘Wagon Wheel.’ I’m sitting in the audience, and they get to the middle of the chorus, and I turned to my wife, and I go, ‘I’ve got to cut this song.’ I’m serious. This all happened in three-and-a-half minutes, four minutes, while they’re playing the song.

The singer-songwriter knows the tune, written by Bob Dylan, may be a bit of a gamble, but believes it’s worth the risk. “[I texted producer] Frank Rogers, ‘Do you know this ‘Wagon Wheel’ song?'” he recalls. “He’s like, ‘Yeah. It’s by Old Crow Medicine Show. A lot of people have cut it.’ I said, ‘I don’t care! I’m cutting it!’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, dude. We’ll try it. We’ll cut it.’ So I cut it, and it was great after we finished it.”

Anyone else out there excited to hear the rest of True Believer?

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25 responses

  1. Anonymous

    love it

    February 21, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    • Glad you did … stick around awhile ;) Hopefully you’ll find a lot more to like! :)

      February 22, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    • wolff

      I got drowned in ribfest american in Iowa . Think he played one song and mother nature came down hard. Hootie and the blowfish concert. Id love to see him in the big country bash in Iowa this summer. Very talented and impressive whatever Genre he sings. to people who love all music.

      April 28, 2013 at 2:03 AM

    • myra allen


      June 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      • I’d say there’s a good reason it climbed all the way to #1 ;) Thanks for reading and replying, myra :)

        June 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

  2. Cindy

    Heard it and fell in love with it right away

    March 22, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    • Definitely looking forward to the full album … glad you stopped by! :)

      March 23, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    • myra allen


      June 11, 2013 at 4:14 PM

      • I think most of America did the same :)

        June 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

  3. Anonymous

    Love it make another good sond buddy

    April 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

  4. Monique

    One of the best covers I have ever heard. Keep it up, I will always turn the radio up with this song.

    April 10, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    • Still hoping to get a hold of the pre-release for review of the full album … if I do, you guys will all read about it here first :) Thanks for commenting, Monique!

      April 11, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree Monique. Fantastic version of this song and love Lady A’s back up vocals on it as well!!!

      May 6, 2013 at 10:22 AM

  5. dave bocchiaro

    Can’t wait for more

    April 24, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    • Fingers crossed … I’m hoping to get a review copy before release. If so, expect a full album review a.s.a.p. :)

      April 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM

  6. Vicki

    I can’t get this out of my head. Nice cover.

    April 25, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    • Agreed … I hear this song constantly on the radio and yet I’m still not sick of it. Looking forward to hearing what the rest of the album has to offer. Thanks for reading! :)

      April 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

  7. Love anything by Darius!!!

    May 10, 2013 at 8:08 PM

  8. Anonymous

    I sing this song to my Grandson every chance I get :)

    June 18, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    • Athena F.


      June 18, 2013 at 8:19 PM

  9. Justafan

    I’ve always liked Darius Rucker. I’m not a CD person or MP3 person by any stretch of the imagination but I bought Cracked Rear View on cassette when it came out way back when and I bought the follow-up Fairweather Johnson. When I heard Hey Mama, Rock Me I didn’t realize he was doing a cover – and I still don’t – because he OWNS this song! Thank you for keeping the faith, Darius, and not selling out.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

  10. loribirdy

    was this sung in a movie or tv show?

    September 4, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    • It might have appeared on one. I’ll have to do some digging :)

      September 4, 2013 at 4:44 PM

  11. Phil Wheeler

    That trucker headed west from the Cumberland Gap would have to circumnavigate the world to get to Johnson City, TN.

    September 4, 2013 at 4:42 PM

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