Rucker had a few solo credits during the heyday of his band, including backing vocals for Radney Foster, a cameo in Friends, an appearance at Frank Sinatra's 80th birthday party, and even an R&B album. He also appeared on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and hawked the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch for Burger King.
After Hootie & the Blowfish went on hiatus in 2008, Rucker began pursuing his career in country. He signed to Capitol Records Nashville and, working with Record Producer Frank Rogers (best known for his work with Brad Paisley), issued Learn to Live. The album's debut single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", made Rucker the first African-American to have a #1 on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983. Three more singles from Learn to Live also fared well on the charts, as did two more from Charleston, SC 1966.
Although his third album True Believers had a false start with its lead single, the followup was a rendition of the popular bluegrass song "Wagon Wheel"; featuring Lady Antebellum on backing vocals, it became Rucker's biggest hit to date. The hits have cooled down some since then, but Rucker has remained a steady presence on country radio.
- Back to Then (2002)
- Learn to Live (2008)
- Charleston, SC 1966 (2010)
- True Believers (2013)
- Home for the Holidays (2014)
- Southern Style (2015)
- When Was the Last Time (2017)
Tropes present in his work:
- Age-Progression Song: "It Won't Be Like This for Long"
- Album Title Drop: When Was the Last Time is title-dropped in second single "For the First Time".
- Christmas Songs: In addition to the Home for the Holidays album, he recorded a rendition of "Winter Wonderland" and the original song "Candy Cane Christmas" for two different multi-artist Christmas compilations.
- Early-Bird Cameo: His first foray into country was singing backing vocals on Radney Foster's See What You Want to See album.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Back to Then, his first solo album, was an R&B and soul influenced album. All of his other solo projects have been country.
- Fun with Acronyms: Done in "Beers and Sunshine": "The only BS I need is beers and sunshine."
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: His cover of Drivin N Cryin's "Straight to Hell" features Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Charles Kelley.
- Shout-Out: The title of Charleston, SC 1966 is an homage to Radney Foster's debut album Del Rio, TX 1959.