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DARIUS RUCKER SURPASSES $4.3 MILLION TOTAL RAISED FOR ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL WITH 15TH ANNUAL “DARIUS AND FRIENDS”

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PHOTO CREDIT : KEITH GRINER

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nearly two decades after first visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where he was immediately inspired to pledge his support, CMA Humanitarian of the Year Darius Rucker continues to give back, surpassing the $4.3 million mark with this year’s 15th annual “Darius and Friends” benefit concert on Monday night, June 3, which was paired with a corresponding celebrity golf tournament yesterday, June 4. This year’s event alone raised an all-time high of $715,000 for the cause.


Sold out well in advance despite the three-time GRAMMY winner’s famous friends not being revealed until they took the stage, the unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest praised by the Tennessean for offering “multiple servings of the country music industry’s past, present, and future for an essential cause” featured dozens of hit songs and beloved covers by Rucker as well as his surprise guests Ingrid Andress, Dan + Shay, Jamey Johnson, Chase Matthew and Shane Profitt. Rucker was also joined by his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan fresh off opening weekend of the group’s Summer Camp with Trucks Tour.
 
After a live auction and donation round which added thousands to the fundraising tally, Rucker kicked off the main event with a trio of hits – “Have A Good Time” off new album Carolyn’s Boy, his 10th and most recent No. 1 hit “Beers and Sunshine” and chart-topping “For The First Time” – before introducing the first friend of the evening as rising star Chase Matthew took the stage to perform Gold-certified “Love You Again,” Platinum-certified “County Line” and a cover of his upcoming tourmate Jason Aldean’s chart topper, “She’s Country,” earning a the newcomer a standing ovation at the Mother Church.
 
GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house with their hits “Speechless” and “Tequila,” plus the title track to their latest album, “Bigger Houses,” while Billboard Rookie of the Month Shane Profitt wowed the Ryman audience with top 15 hit “How It Oughta Be” and “Better Off Fishin’.” 
 
As is customary at the annual event, Rucker also returned to the stage between each guest set, treating fans to hits ranging from his Platinum-certified country breakout “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and Double Platinum-certified No. 1 “Alright” to current single “Never Been Over,” with the multi-genre star branching out from his own catalog for rousing versions of  Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” and TLC’s “Waterfalls.” Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan also joined him for fan-favorites “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand,” offering a taste of what to expect on the road this summer.
 
Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance during a hiatus from touring to offer a well-received take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” plus her chart-topping hit “More Hearts Than Mine” and a solo version of her Sam Hunt duet, “Wishful Drinking,” while Jamey Johnson offered yet another standout moment with an evocative performance of his emotional hit “In Color” as well as “Give It Away,” the No. 1 hit he penned for George Strait, with Rucker then joining him for a stirring duet of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”
 
Closing out the memorable evening, the host of the night owned the stage one final time as the show ended according to tradition, with Rucker joined by the sold-out Ryman crowd for a “Wagon Wheel” singalong, the feel-good energy throughout the auditorium symbolic of the night as a whole.
 
This year’s milestone fundraising event adds yet another successful page to the decade-plus history of “Darius and Friends.” Prior guests have included Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jelly Roll, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Ashley McBryde, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Megan Moroney, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers and Tommy Thayer of KISS, among many others.
 
The annual fundraising event, made possible with support from generous sponsors AMD, CDW and The Law Office of Jennifer McCoy, helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – so they can focus on helping their child live.
 
This year’s “Darius and Friends” event adds to an exciting season for the multi-time Diamond-certified superstar, who recently released a reimagined duet version of his Carolyn’s Boy album standout “Never Been Over” featuring Jennifer Nettles. On May 28 he released his first book, a memoir titled “Life’s Too Short” that explores the story of his life through the lens of the music that defined it, and tickets to the Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Camp with Trucks Tour are on sale now HERE.
 
For more information, visit DariusRucker.com and follow on social media @DariusRucker.
 

ABOUT DARIUS RUCKER

Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time.

Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart plus 10 No. 1 singles on Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum, or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time. His brand-new album Carolyn’s Boy is available everywhere now along with current single “Never Been Over,” recently re-released as a duet with Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles. His first book, a memoir titled “Learn to Live” available everywhere now via Dey Street Books.
 
As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. and has raised over $4.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament. In addition, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and serves as a National Chair for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tenn. Rucker is also an avid sports fan, with his Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics line of NFL, MLB and NCAA apparel available at Fanatics.com, and he is part of the Music City Baseball investment group working to bring an MLB team to Tennessee in addition to serving as a partner at the MGC Sports & Entertainment agency.  
 

ABOUT ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children. It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was largely considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live. Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

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