Darius Rucker, ‘Wagon Wheel’ – Song Review
On ‘Wagon Wheel,’ Darius Rucker brings his signature sense of urgency to a modern classic that has been living just beneath the surface of mainstream success for nearly a decade. Old Crow Medicine Show turned the song into a gold single. Rucker’s version — although more polished than the original — will have equal success in a fraction of the eight years it took OCMS.
This new recording will appear on the singer’s upcoming ‘True Believers’ album, set for a Jan. 22 release. With the members of Lady Antebellum providing the supporting vocals necessary to fill out the song, the production is anything but raw and spontaneous. This will work for some, but maybe not fans who fell hard for a loose, folk-country singalong song partially written Bob Dylan.
“Headin’ down south to the land of the pines / I’m thumbin’ my way into North Carolina / Starin’ up the road / And prayin’ to God I see headlights,” Rucker sings to begin the first verse, “I made it down the coast in seventeen hours / Pickin’ me a bouquet of dogwood flowers / And I’m a hopin’ for Raleigh / I can see my baby tonight.”
His collaboration loses none of the spirit of the original. Rucker’s sincere passion for the song and the slice of the country he sings about drives the melody forward like he’s on a locomotive to Raleigh instead of bumming rides through the backcountry. The man is absolutely infectious, and when he sings a song that might be among the most contagious ever, one can only give in.
“So rock me mama like a wagon wheel / Rock me mama any way you feel / Hey, mama rock me / Rock me mama like the wind and the rain / Rock me mama like a southbound train / Hey, mama rock me,” he cries out during each chorus.
Rucker’s genuine excitement as he begs and pleads to his baby to give his wheel a spin will have the last skeptic joining him by the final chorus. There’s little doubt many have considered covering ‘Wagon Wheel,’ but the song found its way to the right person give it new life in 2013.
Listen to Darius Rucker, ‘Wagon Wheel’