Hootie & The Blowfish Guitarist To Release Solo Debut

With folk-rockers Hootie & The Blowfish currently on a break, guitarist Mark Bryan is now gearing up for the release of his first solo album, "30 On The Rail," due out on March 14.

For the LP, Bryan enlisted the aid of Peter Holsapple of the Continental Drifters and the dB's, as well as Cowboy Mouth drummer Fred Leblanc. The North Carolina band Hobex also turns up on one track, "Drinkin' You Pretty," [RealAudio] while singer-songwriter Danielle Howle offers some guest vocals on another cut, "City By A River."

Bryan wrote and recorded much of the new record in between the sessions for Hootie & The Blowfish's 1996's album, "Fairweather Johnson," and the group's subsequent effort, 1998's "Musical Chairs."

The guitarist-turned solo artist tracked much of "30 On The Rail" in 1997 (the year Bryan turned 30, hence the title) with producer Don Dixon in the same North Carolina

studio where

the Blowfish cut their first record, the 1992 indie release "Kootchypop."

In a statement announcing the LP, Bryan said that the pending solo album in no way reflects the end of his involvement in Hootie & The Blowfish.

"This is not about a solo career or about being a front man," Bryan wrote in a self-penned bio. "I'm already in a band that I love being a part of. For me, this project is about the songs."

Hootie & The Blowfish spent most of 1999 on tour in support of "Musical Chairs," which spawned the single, "I Will Wait."

Band frontman Darius Rucker recently stepped outside the group to perform a Bob Marley song, "War," at an all-star concert celebrating the musical legen (see "Lauryn Hill, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Ben Harper Catch A Fire At Marley Tribute Show").