2011 has been a busy year for Top Dog/Atlantic recording artist Uncle Kracker, spending most of it on the road performing at stadiums and arenas in nearly every major U.S. market with country superstar and friend Kenny Chesney along with a number of headlining shows of his own. And yet, the Detroit-based singer-songwriter still found time to write and record much of his as-yet-untitled forthcoming album (expected out in 2012). The first taste of the new music is “My Hometown” – a track produced by Keith Stegall (Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, George Jones), who also sat behind the board for Uncle Kracker’s previous release, 2010’s “HAPPY HOUR – THE SOUTH RIVER ROAD SESSIONS.”
“HAPPY HOUR – THE SOUTH RIVER ROAD SESSIONS” featured the hit singles “Smile” and “Good To Be Me.” After enjoying tremendous success on the pop radio charts, “Smile” crossed over to become the singer-songwriter’s first solo Top 5 hit at Country Radio and proved to be one of 2010’s biggest Country songs with single sales exceeding 2 million. In addition, the “Smile” companion video enjoyed top 5 success on Great American Country’s Top 20 Country Countdown and a top 20 rotation favorite at CMT. “Good To Be Me” – a track produced by and featuring guest vocals from longtime friend/songwriting partner Kid Rock – also became a staple on country radio playlists nationwide. The single’s companion video clip made its world premiere on Great American Country and was in heavy rotation on both GAC and CMT. Summer 2010 saw Uncle Kracker and Kid Rock steal the show with a joint performance of the song on the ABC special, CMA Music Fest: Country’s Night To Rock. The performance earned them an ACM award nomination for Vocal Event of the Year. Uncle Kracker closed that year with a performance of “Good To Be Me” at the inaugural American Country Awards.
Despite his relatively recent breakthrough solo success in Country music, Uncle Kracker is actually no stranger to the audience, scoring a #1 hit with “When The Sun Goes Down”, his collaboration with Kenny Chesney. He also co-wrote Kid Rock’s multi-format smash “All Summer Long” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard country charts.
“I’ve always had a genuine passion for country. I think that audiences appreciate that, and that’s why they’re giving me a chance,” Uncle Kracker explains. “Country music was one of the types of music I grew up with, so elements of it naturally come out in my songwriting. Listening to a lot of my songs – all the way back to ‘Follow Me’ – I feel like I’ve been making country music for years.”
Initially known for his role as DJ in Kid Rock’s legendary Twisted Brown Trucker band, Uncle Kracker made a stunning solo debut with 2001’s “DOUBLE WIDE.” Fueled by the #1 smash, “Follow Me,” the album exploded onto the Billboard 200’s top 10 on its way to 2x-platinum certification from the RIAA.
“NO STRANGER TO SHAME” followed in 2002, highlighted by the top 10 Hot AC hit, “In A Little While,” as well as Uncle Kracker’s biggest solo single to date, a cover of Dobie Gray’s classic “Drift Away.” The track reached the top 10 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” while also setting the record for most weeks at #1 on the AC chart, remaining atop the format’s ranking for a remarkable 22 straight weeks.
2004’s “SEVENTY TWO AND SUNNY” saw Uncle Kracker emphasizing his melodic songwriting and a unique stylistic synthesis of pop, rock, country, soul, blues, and even doo-wop. That same year saw “When The Sun Goes Down,” the aforementioned duet with Kenny Chesney, reaching #1 on its way to becoming an RIAA gold certified country-pop crossover classic.
Uncle Kracker returned with the 2009 release of “HAPPY HOUR,” which features the multi-format smash “Smile.” The album’s version of “Smile” peaked at #2 on the Hot AC chart with the companion video becoming a fixture on the VH1 Top 20 Countdown. Uncle Kracker performed the song on a number of high-profile TV performances, including NBC’s The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, CBS’ The Early Show Saturday Edition (where he premiered “Smile”), Fox & Friends and ABC’s Live! With Regis and Kelly (as part of a special Las Vegas edition).
Known to his parents as Matt Shafer, Uncle Kracker has also maintained his role as one of Kid Rock’s closest friends and collaborators. His co-writing credits alongside the one and only Rock N Roll Jesus includes such blockbuster hits as “Bawitdaba,” “Cowboy,” “Forever,” “Only God Knows Why,” and 2008’s #1 classic, “All Summer Long.”