“Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker

Right now, in a dingy bar or a suburban basement, some aspiring musician is performing “Wagon Wheel.” The Old Crow Medicine Show tune (written around a 40-year-old Bob Dylan chorus melody) wasn’t a chart smash, but has endured to become a beloved bar band singalong.

Which leads us to the inevitable question: Why on earth does Darius Rucker’s new single version of “Wagon Wheel” exist? The song is so familiar at this point that it falls somewhere between Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” and Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” on the obvious scale. No points for originality, unfortunately.

But to Darius’ credit, he keeps it rowdy and boozy, as it should be. Instead of the OCMS all-acoustic presentation, we get a little Telecaster twang and some shuffling drums to accompany the signature fiddle melody. Lady Antebellum drops in for the choruses, and Darius sings it like a champ. As for its radio viability, it sure sounds like a hit.

Darius has a good track record as a solo country artist, and this tune’s got enough hooks to reel in a marlin. If only it were something we haven’t heard before.

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