Darius Rucker hosted his annual Darius & Friends concert benefitting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Nashville on Tuesday, Aug. 17, inviting some of his famous friends to join him on stage at the Ryman Auditorium. This year's event, which was the 12th annual Darius & Friends show, raised over $410,000 with a sold-out venue and fans watching at home via live stream.
On Instagram, Rucker wrote that the show was "Such a FUN night coming together with friends to raise money for @stjude!!" In a separate post, he added, "I can't say thank you enough to each and everyone of you who donated, came to the show, watched from home or walked on that stage. Forever grateful!!" Special guests at this year's show included Jason Aldean, Brothers Osborne, John Daly, Keb' Mo', Runaway June and Elvie Shane. In total, Rucker has surpassed $2.5 million raised for St. Jude.
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"The incredible work being done at St. Jude really made an impact on me when I had a chance to visit and hear the patients' stories," the "My Masterpiece" singer shared in a statement. "They are some of the bravest people I've ever met and being able to support them with this event is always a highlight of my year."
Rucker first visited St. Jude in 2008 and was immediately called to lend his support. "You see these kids who are sick, and they're so happy to be there, because their caregivers are so loving and giving to them. And then you find out that nobody ever gets a bill," he recently told the Tennessean. "That blew me away. I was just like, 'We'll figure out some way to help you guys as much as I can.'"
Tuesday's show began with a silent auction and live donation round before Rucker took the stage and performed some of his hits before introducing Brothers Osborne. Next up was Shane, whose performance included his hit "My Boy," followed by a surprise appearance from golfer John Daly, who joined Rucker for a cover of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door." Aldean gave an acoustic performance of "Big Green Tractor" and "Any Ol' Barstool" while Keb' Mo' took the stage solo before inviting Rucker back for a cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." Runaway June were the final guests of the night, performing their hit "Buy My Own Drinks" and a new song, "T-Shirt," before finishing with a cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl."
In between, Rucker continually returned to the stage to perform, sharing his own hits like "This" and "Radio" as well as Hootie & the Blowfish classics "Hold My Hand" and "Only Wanna Be With You." He also performed a song co-written with Ed Sheeran, "Sara," and a cover of Nanci Griffith's "I Wish It Would Rain" in tribute to the late singer. The show ended with an audience singaglong to "Wagon Wheel."