Darius Rucker praises Beyoncé bringing 'so many eyes' to country music with “Cowboy Carter”

"I always say I want country music to look more like America and I think she did a lot to make it go that way."

Country singer Darius Rucker is joining the chorus of Beyoncé supporters celebrating the "huge" success of Cowboy Carter.

"I can't express enough how big what she did was because she brought so many eyes to the genre,” Rucker said during his Friday appearance on Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.

While chatting with the titular CNN anchor, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman had only positive things to say about Beyoncé’s massive 27-track project, which he sees as a step forward for inclusivity in the genre.

"You know, one of the things I love about what Beyoncé did is when I started making country music and having hits, I'd have African American women and men come up to me and go ‘I love country music, it’s just I could never say it,’” Rucker recalled. “And she brought, I think, even more eyes to the genre and more people looking at it and more Black people going ‘Alright man, I like country music.’”

<p>Getty(2)</p> Darius Rucker and Beyonce


Darius Rucker and Beyonce

Related: Will country radio play Beyoncé’s new songs? Station managers weigh in

He added, “I always say I want country music to look more like America and I think she did a lot to make it go that way.”

Rucker pivoted to country music after gaining acclaim as the lead vocalist of Hootie & the Blowfish. He soon became the first Black artist to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs since Charley Pride in 1983, and was later the second Black artist inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. In 2021, Rucker opened up about his experience in the genre with an editorial for The Tennessean, noting that a “stigma of rebel flags and racism” remains.

"It's still around, you know,” Rucker told Wallace. “You still see it some places and I don't think that's ever going to go away. It's not as prevalent as it was, it's not the majority of country music, but it's still there. Because it's still in America.”

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All that said, Beyoncé was quick to make it clear that Cowboy Carter is not a country album but "a Beyoncé album." While much of the country establishment was wary to embrace the project — with detractors speaking out and some country stations initially refusing to play her music — the album arrived to massive success.

Related: Tina Knowles remembers Beyoncé as a shy child who got bullied

Beyoncé earned the support of various stalwarts, with the album featuring collaborations with such country pioneers as Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Linda Martell, contemporary country crossover stars Miley Cyrus and Post Malone, and a host of upcoming Black country artists.

When the album debuted, Beyoncé made history as the first Black woman to hit No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and the lead single "Texas Hold 'Em" went straight to No. 1 on Billboard's Country Songs chart, another historic first for a Black woman.

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