Uncle Kracker is under the gun these days.
The Harrison Township-based hitmaker and former hype man in Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker band hits Nashville next week to start recording his fifth album, the follow-up to 2009’s “Happy Hour” and its hits “Smile” and “Good To Be Me.”
He has 20 songs ready to go, but it needs to be finished by mid-March, when he hits the road with good pal Kenny Chesney for a tour that will stretch into late August.
“I’m kind of excited, actually, the most excited I’ve been in a long time,” says Kracker (real name Matt Shafer), 36, who hopes to have a first single out in the early spring with a late summer release for the album. “It’s more me than the last record was; that was the overall goal this time, to go in and have fun. I don’t want to say rootsy, but it’s a little more Americana, I guess.”
Kracker certainly has momentum on his side. “Happy Hour” was well received, with “Smile” hitting Top 5 on Country and Adult Contemporary charts and “Good To Be Me,” which features Kid Rock, scoring an Academy of Country Music Awards nomination. And he acknowledges that gave him confidence when he began writing material for the new album.
“(‘Good To Be Me’) is still (being played) at radio right now,” Kracker notes. “I’ve never really been in the process where I had a single on radio and was writing new songs before an album (cycle) was finished. It’s pretty calculated, I guess, probably the most organized I’ve ever been.
“Me and organized in the same sentence — that’s weird, man.”
Uncle Kracker will be part of the Ten Man Jam talking place Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are not for sale and must be won from WYCD-FM. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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