Edwin McCain's ascent into the big time came after years of working the southeast bar-band circuit, mirroring the experience of fellow South Carolinians Hootie & the Blowfish. Playing simple, acoustic guitar-based Roots pop that mixes earnest ballads with mildly anthemic three-chord rockers, McCain's distinguished himself in the homogenized field of "frat rock," "Hootie rock" or "bland-core" (as some detractors have called it) thanks to his full-bodied, easygoing voice and no-frills songwriting approach. He also got a boost when the hand-holding ballad "I'll Be" (from the 1997 CD Misguided Roses) appeared on Dawson's Creek and earned him fans outside his khaki-and baseball cap-wearing fan base. His 1999 follow-up resorted to slick, string-coated production and even included a tune by schmaltz queen Diane Warren. Like Michael Bolton and Celine Dion before him, McCain reaped the financial benefits of this association with "I Could Not Ask for More," climbing back up the charts and a bit further from his bar-band roots, even though -- at its core -- his music hasn't changed all that much.