Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Love Note to Darius Rucker

(Because what says "Christmas spirit" more than that? Also, I'm really into writing open letters these days.)

Dear Darius,

I was eleven years old when Cracked Rear View came out. I think my dad bought me your CD -- I'm not sure why, exactly -- maybe it was his attempt to get me to listen to something more current than John Denver and Air Supply? Maybe he thought I'd piggybacked off his musical tastes long enough. Maybe he was alarmed that the first CD I actually bought by my own volition was Ace of Base Happy Nation/The Sign and bringing me this CD was his way of gently suggesting that I. . . never spend his money on Swedish techno-pop again. Maybe he'd just heard it and liked it and wasn't sure how socially acceptable it was for a 40-something number cruncher to be into a band called Hootie and the Blowfish so he claimed it was for his daughter. At any rate, I got it. And I played the heck out of it. Seventh-grade Karinya could belt out "Only Wanna be with You" with the best of 'em. Just ask my neighbors.

I'll confess to getting a little annoyed when you were in your pouty "don't call me Hootie" phase. If you are the lead singer of a band called Hootie and the Blowfish, convention dictates that the name preceding the "and the band" part of the name is the name of the SINGER, but whatever. I don't want to dwell on that. I've grown, you've grown; we're different people now. I'll respect your wishes and address you by your actual name.

Our relationship might have lost a bit of its initial spark in the years that followed -- I went through a teenage heavy metal phase (no, really. My first screenname was Metallichick_525 and I spent a lot of time in Metallica chat rooms and dating guys in bad garage bands. I'm full of surprises.) You were always around to some degree, though. I bought everything you put out -- even the albums no one liked and your weird little B-sides. I might have picked some of them up secondhand at the local CD Warehouse, but --

And then! Then I had a baby. (Well, we're probably skipping a step or two, but I'm trying to keep this to a readable length.) I had a baby with colic. I had a baby with colic and no (helpful) partner. I had a baby with colic and no partner and a death in the family (my grandfather passed away a couple of days after I gave birth. It was all very circle-of-life). I had a baby with colic and no partner and a death in the family and was so sleep-deprived that I actually googled things like, "will you pass out before you die from exhaustion or will you just die with no warning?" I'm 100% serious.

And it was 4am and I was crying and begging K to just oh my God, please, please, please go to sleep. Please (hey, that doesn't sound entirely dissimilar to some nights in more recent history! But with less crying on my part) and a song came on the radio with the lines "He didn't have to wake up/He'd been up all night/Layin’ there in bed listenin’/To his new born baby cry."

At this point I said, okay, mystery singer who sounds suspiciously familiar. I'm listening. There aren't many songs that actually acknowledge anything beyond the "precious little miracle" aspect of newborns, so let's see what else you've got to say. And then you said this: "It won’t be like this for long/One day we'll look back laughin’/At the week we brought her home/This phase is gonna fly by/So baby just hold on/‘Cause it won't be like this for long."

And then I cried some more. But for different reasons. (Is this song cheesy? Of course! Does that matter? Not at all!) I googled the lyrics and found that it was my beloved Hootie Darius, Darius! And that he was now a country singer? I was confused but handed over my credit card number to itunes anyway and downloaded the whole album. And then listened to that song over and over and over and felt a little more confident that I'd get through this. Our flame had been rekindled.

Some more stuff happened. I survived colic. I survived teething. I bought a house. I got a divorce. I had some messy. . . learning experiences. I fell in love with Bob. And then I drove down the road and heard another song whose lyrics were just so spot-on that I couldn't wait to get home/google/study lyrics/buy/sing obsessively. And do you know who sings this song, Darius? You do! You're such a goof sometimes. It is "This" off the Charleston, SC 1965 album. Almost all of the lyrics are "yes! this!" worthy, but the chorus sums it up nicely: "Every stoplight I didn’t make/Every chance I did or I didn’t take/All the nights I went too far/All the girls that broke my heart/All the doors that I had to close/All the things I knew but I didn’t know/Thank God for all I missed/Cause it led me here to this." You can hear the song here:

Was this album written for us, Darius? (Here I should probably specify that I mean me and Bob, not me and you, because while we've got something special,  I am actually engaged to another man and I'm very happy with him.) I thought it might be, but then I heard the song "Might Get Lucky" and I KNEW that it was. My favorite line: "There's a window of opportunity between/when the kids are tucked in and a half a glass of Chardonnay." You are a perceptive man, my friend. You really do need to hit up moms for grown-up time before they break out the wine. (Or at least before they get more than half a glass in!) I texted this line to Bob at work just because it made me laugh/rang a little too true ;-)

I could go on (I like the "The Craziest Thing," too!) but you get the point.

Thanks for writing the soundtrack to my life, buddy. Keep it up!



(Readers: And, um, in case this is the last time I blog before Christmas: I hope it's a good one for all of you! Thanks for reading!)



  1. Just so you know...your blog keeps me sane. Serious.

  2. You have a newborn and thus aren't thinking clearly, but I appreciate your comment anyway!

  3. You've been through so much. Lot's of not so great things and I'm glad life is finally better. Or not as rough! I listened to alot of Hootie while I was in rehab. Haha. Merry Christmas!

  4. Too funny! I didn't have the same discovery path as you (for one thing I'm quite a bit older), but I LOVED Darius's deep, sexy voice and was a big Hootie fan, even after they got over-popular and people made fun of them. I have to admit, I only have their first 2 albums, but I did see them in concert.

    I had no idea he was singing country until a guy at work mentioned he was adding him to a playlist for an iPod to send to his wife who was deployed in Iraq. I'm not a country fan, but I love his voice so much, I was able to tolerate the twang.

    Great post! Thanks for stopping by Midwest "Mom"ments last night. I should have logged on; I was up with a teething toddler. :)

  5. I think MTV and pop radio burned me out on Hootie but I've had similar lyrical connections with Michigan's own The Verve Pipe and their lead singer, Brian Vander Ark's solo material to what you experienced with Hootie/Mr.Rucker so I "get it."

    Oh and PS... what's wrong with John Denver and Air Supply? I went through that phase too!

  6. Perplexio: I would never hate on John Denver! It's just, you know, good to not rely solely on your parents influence for musical taste ;-)

    Thanks for the comments, all!


Please consider leaving a comment and saying hello!