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Hootie and the Blowfish Return

Radio-friendly rockers to release first album in five years

Hootie and the Blowfish will release a self-titled album, their
first new set in nearly five years, March 4th on Atlantic Records.
The album is also the band’s first without longtime producer Don
Gehman; Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan) took his place at the
boards.

“We tried to name it, and it just didn’t happen,” says singer
Darius Rucker. “You write songs and you put a record out, and,
after four years, we didn’t need to try to figure out who we are.
We just really wanted to try and be the rock & roll band we’d
like to be.”

Besides eleven originals that tap the band’s trademark
all-American sound, Hootie and the Blowfish includes a
version of the Continental Drifters’ “The Rain Song” that features
Vicki Peterson and Susan Cowsill of the Drifters singing
backup.

“Innocence,” the first single from the new album goes to radio
next month, which of course is where Hootie broke through during
height of grunge with the feel-good “Hold My Hand,” from 1994’s
Cracked Rear View. “It was the right song at the right
time,” Rucker remembers. “It was different and uplifting.”

The band’s subsequent albums — 1996’s Fairweather
Johnson
and 1998’s Musical Chairs — did not approach
the same sales figures, and Hootie finally put a cap on that era
with the recycled rarities collection Scattered, Smothered and
Covered
.

During their recent hiatus, Rucker and guitarist Mark Bryan each
released solo sets, and all four members became fathers. “I think
[family] makes the band focus more,” Rucker says. He remembers his
seven-year-old daughter Cary’s reaction to one show in particular:
“We played this show and she was a little tired, but she was so
happy to be there. She walked into the back and said, ‘Daddy! That
was better than ‘N Sync!’ And that was about the best thing she
could’ve said.”

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