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Riff: Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel”

Jun 18, 2013

And if I die in Raleigh/At least I will die free

from Wagon Wheel lyrics by Darius Rucker

Rucker (no, Hootie) has a wonderful voice, but this already covered-to-death track didn’t need another new rendition – especially an over-produced, mono-dynamic radio-country version. Rucker’s take epitomizes the “staticky” product of the loudness wars that original author Bob Dylan despises.

  • Travis

    Karl needs to relax and get his facts straight. The dynamic range compression and equalization in this recording doesn’t come close to the definition of loudness race or loudness war. He simply recorded a song he liked from another group.Why? cause he can. Karl, hmmmm me your last number one hit. If you can then I’ll take your criticism seriously!!

    • Karl

      Not to play devil’s advocate, but I looked into it, and it turns out you don’t need to have a number one hit to have ears.

      The fact of the matter is that at least 95% of the music on the radio made after the ’90s was made with the loudness war uber-compression, and this track is a prime example, especially when compared with *any* previous version. It removes the charm of the Dylan, Old Crow, and Against Me versions. Since there are no dynamics, Rucker has to just drop all of the instruments on the bridge for a dip in energy. It’s a pretty cut-and-dry slab of homogeneous sound. Luckily, the internet means we can easily listen to any other version besides this one.

Riff by Karl Ernest

Karl is a Seattle-based musician and writer at SONGLYRICS; a veteran of both east and west-coast scenes, he has performed with the likes of The Ying Yang Twins, David Arquette, Wynton Marsalis, among others. But he's no stranger to seedy dives or house shows, either.

What's a RIFF, you say?

  • 300 characters or less of pure SONG REVIEW bliss,
  • Written by MUSIC LOVERS; Read by EVERYONE,
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