Listen: True Believers
Darius Rucker (Capitol Nashville, 2013)
Put on your favorite pair of blue jeans and T-shirt, grab a glass of libations, and settle down for some reminiscing and catching up with a familiar friend. That friend just happens to be Darius Rucker, whose third solo album True Believers takes listeners on a journey of love, heartache, and lasting relationships.
“True Believers,” the album’s title track and first single, is destined to join the annals of wedding and anniversary song favorites. With its simple story about proving naysayers wrong and becoming stronger with each obstacle, this song pays homage to married couples who stay together. This song sets the tone and tempo for the rest of the album, which features 11 other songs recalling the pain and pleasure of loving, being loved, finding love, and losing it. Rucker’s strong vocals backed by undercurrents of the blues, inflections of gospel, head-bobbing country, and contemporary stylings make the songs flow like conversations rather than repetitive spins on one topic.
Aside from highlighting Rucker’s voice, the album spotlights Rucker’s strength as a storyteller, as he cowrote 10 of the 12 songs. “Love Without You,” featuring Sheryl Crow, and “Shine” illustrate that skill and the attention Rucker paid to crafting real, memorable songs that make visceral connections. These two songs are undoubtedly among the album’s best tracks, making listeners crave for longer freestyle versions.
Rucker’s mellow pace remains steady throughout the album, with the exception of the fun, foot-tapping “Wagon Wheel” and the danceable “Heartbreak Road.” “Radio,” a rather forgettable song that suffers from identity crisis as it awkwardly shifts between country and pop/R&B, also offers an upbeat tempo. This isn’t to say Rucker doesn’t navigate the genres; he does rather well. However, the track still comes up short.
Even so, Rucker delivers a cohesive, polished album that all music fans—country or otherwise—will enjoy.