The statistics are pretty impressive: Darius Rucker fronted one of the biggest-selling rock bands in the world in the mid-Nineties, yet he’s had more Number One albums and way more Number One songs as a country artist. When he announced Hootie & the Blowfish’s hiatus in 2008 so he could pursue a solo career, pretty much everybody figured this thing would be a flash in the pan. But with an honest appreciation for the genre, heartfelt songs and unique, raspy-but-warm vocals, he’s become a truly beloved figure on the scene. (And nobody calls him Hootie anymore.) — C.P.