Monday, March 10, 2008

3 Hootie and the Blowfish go it alone

COLUMBIA, S.C. - When Hootie and the Blowfish play at a fundraiser to benefit the Animal Mission this week, the bandmates likely will compare notes on their recent solo efforts.

Guitarist Mark Bryan and lead singer Darius Rucker are working on their second solo efforts, while drummer Jim "Soni" Sonefeld is making his solo debut. Bassist Dean Felber doesn't have any solo plans yet.

Bryan's effort includes a punkish track "Glad to be Alive" that didn't make the cut for the most recent Hootie effort — 2005's "Looking for Lucky."

"I can totally respect it's not a Hootie song," Bryan said. His "End of the Front" has a diverse lineup from punk to pop, rock to bluegrass.

"Stylistically it's all over the place," Bryan told The (Columbia) State. "But it's because the songs were written over a 10-year period."

Rucker, who released his first solo effort "Back to Then" in 2002, is going a little bit country for his second effort.

"I know that a lot of country fans have 'Cracked Rear View,' " Rucker said of the band's breakthrough album, which has sold more than 16 million copies and put the Columbia-based group on the map. "We've never really been that far from country. It came out so organically."

For his debut, drummer Sonefeld went more progressive with his "Snowman Melting" being released by independent label Aquarian Nation.

"It just feels so alive," Sonefeld said. "It's killing me not to have it ready yet."

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