Album Review

Darius Rucker, 'Charleston, SC 1966'

October 11, 2010

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The former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman successfully rebranded himself as a country crooner on his second solo album, 2008’s “Learn to Live,’’ scoring a trio of hits without changing the basic structure of what he did with his multiplatinum roots pop band. He continues that thread here with a collection of songs that hit the various format targets from mid-tempo anthems to tear-in-my-beer ballads. Opener “This’’ falls squarely in the country pop sweet spot as a few steel guitar licks embellish the cheerful tale of how life’s mistakes, mishaps, and missed opportunities can lead to bliss. The saucy “I Don’t Care’’ ambles along with winking charm and guitar licks provided by Brad Paisley. “Love Will Do That’’ is a rolling and tumbling foot-stomper full of fleet picking, courtesy of gifted friends like banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. “Come Back Song’’ is a light but heartfelt ode to getting back the one who got away that will likely broker a few reunions. Rucker strictly plays by the rules but “Charleston’’ surpasses its predecessor on the strength of more vibrant and charming tunes. SARAH RODMAN

ESSENTIAL “Come Back Song’’