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Darius Rucker Inspired to Record ‘Wagon Wheel’ in Unlikely Place

Darius Rucker
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Darius Rucker may not have had an instant connection with ‘Wagon Wheel.’ But the country music superstar recounts an unlikely event that helped rekindle him with the Old Crow Medicine Show classic — enough so that he decided to release the track as the latest single from his forthcoming studio album, ‘True Believers.’

“Somebody had played ‘Wagon Wheel’ for me years ago. It was one of those things that I didn’t really get,” shares Rucker (quote via Capitol Nashville).  “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,” adds the singer.

With the guidance of his longtime producer, Frank Liddell, Rucker cut the tune, and even enlisted some famous friends for background vocalists to give the track some added star power.

“I called up Charles [Kelley] and he said yes, and then a couple day later I ran into Dave [Haywood] and Hillary [Scott] at a concert and mentioned it to them and they said sure,” Rucker shares of Lady Antebellum‘s participation in the creative process. “Two days later they were in the studio doing it. That would never happen in pop music … lawyers would get involved and then either it wouldn’t happen or someone would get paid big bucks to sing on it.”

Grateful for their willingness to lend their voices, Rucker says, “Lady Antebellum took the song to a new level. Up until they added their vocals, I thought it was another song on the record.”

‘Wagon Wheel’ has been recorded a handful of times, but the Bob Dylan-penned tune became a signature tune for Old Crow Medicine Show in 2004. The tune serves as the second single to Rucker’s fourth solo studio album, ‘True Believers,’ which is expected to be released this spring.

Next: See Darius Rucker in His Hootie Days

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