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Darius Rucker

Southern Style – 2015 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Darius Rucker

Although opener "Homegrown Honey" has a few hip-hip sonic elements fueling it, "Southern Style" is a fairly traditional - well, as traditional as Darius Rucker can get - album. "Homegrown Honey," along with the title cut and "Half Full Dixie Cup," make a play for Rucker's Southern credentials, and for the most part support these claims. Rucker is an easygoing vocalist, and this latest effort goes down smoothly.

It's still taboo for country artists to sing overtly about smoking pot, but "Lighter Up" is both a concert experience tune and a thinly veiled marijuana celebration. 'Lighter up' can be heard as 'light her up,' and when Rucker sings, "burned the night," it's not too difficult to get his descriptive clue. "High On Life" is a song celebrating the drug-free pleasures of life. On the downside, though, the song - in both melody and message - is a little too close to Travis Tritt's "It's a Great Day to Be Alive." And speaking of similarities, "You Can Have Charleston" is little more than a rewrite of Eric Church's "Give Me Back My Hometown," only not nearly as smart and emotionally compelling as Church's approach.

Rucker's "Southern Style" may not earn many originality points, but it's nevertheless a relatively inoffensive, pleasing effort.