COLUMBIA, SC — Update: Darius Rucker won the Grammy for best country solo performance for his hit single, "Wagon Wheel." Many of the Grammy awards were announced before the national telecast at 8 p.m.
EARLIER: Darius Rucker was last nominated for a Grammy Award when he was a rocker with Hootie & The Blowfish and most freshmen at University of South Carolina were just learning to walk.
Now a country music star, Rucker is in Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards show on Sunday where he is nominated for best country solo performance with his hit single “Wagon Wheel.” (He also will appear on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on Friday.)
Hootie & the Blowfish, the band he and three classmates founded at USC, won two Grammys in 1996 for best new artist and best pop performance by a group.
Rucker, 47, said winning another Grammy after so many years and in a different genre would not surpass what he has already accomplished in country music, which includes a Country Music Association award and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
“I don’t think moving to country music needs any more validation than I’ve already got with the Opry and the CMAs,” Rucker told The State on Friday. “Winning the Grammys is always special. It would be another one of those things that says, ‘You made the right choice.’ ”
Still, he admitted that another Grammy trophy, considered the music industry’s top award, would be a bit different.
“All the other awards are great,” he said. “But there’s something about the Grammys. It’s the whole music business and not just Nashville voting on it.”
If he does not win on Sunday, Rucker would not blame the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments in GQ magazine last month. The “Wagon Wheel” video featured several cast members of the reality show, including Willie and Si Robertson, though not Phil.
“I think the voting was done when all that actually went down,” Rucker said.
Rucker said he did not have any reaction to Phil Robertson’s comments, though he noted, “Phil is a God-fearing man.”
“They can handle it,” Rucker said. “They’re big boys.”
Rucker is appearing at Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena on Feb. 21.