I must admit I never had FOMO about Hootie and the Blowfish back in the day. I had missed their rise as a popular band on the college bar and frat circuit by about four years. By the time they were selling millions of records and playing sold-out arenas, I was in my country music/NPR phase. At that point, I was living in DC and oblivious to the meteoric rise of this local music phenomenon.
Over the years, "cracked rear view" (title intentionally in lower case from the album cover:) and "Fairweather Johnson" somehow ended up in my iTunes – likely the result of trading around CDs among friends. That’s about the only reason I knew any of their songs.
My epiphany about Hootie and the Blowfish came a generation after their chart-topping fame. A year or so before their 2019 reunion tour, my friend, singer-songwriter Danielle Howle, was performing a house concert in my living room. She asked if I was OK with her bringing a friend to play in with her. I told her it was her show – we’d welcome whomever she brought.
When I realized the friend was Mark Bryan, I was kind of excited that a Hootie band member would be playing in my house (although I must admit that, at the time, I couldn't remember which instrument he played, but still …).
Mark and Danielle – as longtime friends and music collaborators – put on an amazing show for the 30+ people in my living room. They played some of the originals they’d worked on together. He played a few new songs he was working on. That’s when I realized I might have missed some musical magic along the way.
I ended up attending one of the 2019 Hootie reunion concerts with my 30-year-old goddaughter. We both agreed it might be the best concert either of us had ever attended. Walking into the concert, I was a curious onlooker. Walking out, I’d become a full blown 1990s fan girl. I went home and immediately downloaded the rest of their albums. This year for Christmas, my husband gave me a signed "cracked rear view" album he out-bid several people on at an auction.
All this backstory to say, this late-to-the-party fan girl bought the recently released book, “Only Wanna Be With You,” that tells the story of the band. I read it all over the Memorial Day week-end. It's my first Blink Book Review. Read it here.