Darius Rucker is still beaming from one of his recent gigs.
It wasn’t playing a sold-out arena on the Rascal Flatts tour or entertaining screaming fans at a honky tonk.
Instead, Rucker went room to room at the Veterans Administration hospital in Nashville, Tenn., singing for one or two patients at a time.
“It was an amazing experience, just going in and watching the faces,” he says.
“Those guys are in there, they’re vets, and they’re not feeling well. You get in there and you just play a song for them and just watch their faces, people smiling.”
Rucker played a variety of songs during his visit, but his first No. 1 country hit, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” really struck a chord.
A number of veterans sang the words, bobbed their heads and tapped their feet.
“It lifts your spirits,” said hospitalized veteran Gloria McCoy . “You’re in here by yourself most of the time … somebody comes and sings to you like that, it’s very enjoyable.”
The organization Musicians on Call arranged the visit as part of a nationwide effort to bring live and recorded music to patients in health care facilities.
Rucker played a benefit concert at the Hardrock Cafe in Nashville on Wednesday to raise money for Musicians on Call.
“I think all musicians should do this,” he says.
“You see people at the hospital and you just expect that they have visitors all the time. For me, just to be a part of their day for a minute was such a great experience.”
The birthday bunch
Singer-actress Keely Smith is 78. Country singer Mickey Gilley is 74. Actress Trish Van Devere is 69. Newsman Charles Gibson is 67. Rock musician Robin Trower is 65. Actress Linda Fiorentino is 50. Actress Juliette Binoche is 46. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 39. Actress Brittany Snow is 24. Rapper Bow Wow is 23.