Home Base: Charleston, SC
What’s on his Plate: The June release of his album True Believers
New Year’s Resolution: To get in better shape. “This year I really mean it!”
My family has deep Charleston roots. We’ve lived here for generations. It goes so far back I can’t even tell you where it starts.
Charleston is known for its porch parties. I’ve never technically hosted one, but you find that when you throw a party in Charleston a lot of time is spent on the porch.
My new album has been a year in the making. I’m especially proud of the collaborations with Sheryl Crow (“Love Without You”) and Lady Antebellum (“Wagon Wheel”). I love hearing their amazing voices next to mine. Each act took their respective song to new heights.
The band name “Hootie & the Blowfish” comes from my college days. The band met while students at the University of South Carolina. We had a buddy with big eyes who was nicknamed Hootie. And a friend with big cheeks we called Blowfish. One night they walked into a party and someone said, “Hey, Hootie and the Blowfish are here.” In the back of my mind a voice said, “That would make a great band name.”
I’ll never get tired of singing “Let Her Cry.” It was released in 1994, and I’ve sung it thousands of times. But the audience always has such a strong connection to the song that it will never get old.
I secretly want to be Dwight Yoakam. Ever since the first time I heard his song “I Got You,” I have thought Dwight was the coolest man on the planet.
This past October I was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. I’m only the third African-American, after Charley Pride and DeFord Bailey, to be inducted. It is a tremendous honor to be mentioned alongside these great men and to be a member of the Opry.
Oh my goodness gracious. That right there is my favorite Southern expression. It’s a great catch-all. When you’re at a loss for words—”goodness gracious.” When you’re trying to avoid a curse word—”goodness gracious.”
Yes, sir. No, sir. I always remind my children (Cary, 17, Dani, 11, and Jack, 8) to use “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking to someone.
Perfect days in Charleston aren’t hard to come by. I start by playing golf at Yeamans Hall. Then I head home, round up the kids, and go to my favorite beach, Isle of Palms. Then it’s time for dinner at an amazing local restaurant like Husk or FIG. On a truly perfect day, I’d also play a set somewhere in town. Charleston is my favorite place to perform.
I’d love to cover Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy’s song “Billionaire.” They’re so cool and smooth, I could never do it like them. I’d want a big banjo or steel guitar with drums shuffling through.
My favorite Southern dish is okra soup. I like it in the Charleston style with tomatoes and onion. The best is from the Piggly Wiggly just down the road from my house. Goodness gracious, it’s good.