Music » Livewire

Uncle Kracker, with Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts

Friday, August 20, at Gund Arena.

by

comment
"I can't explain how my career went at all," says Uncle Kracker, one of few artists to cross genres successfully. "I've been hip-hop. I've been contemporary, and now I'm regarded by a lot of people as country. I don't get too hung up on all of it."

Nor should he. After all, Uncle Kracker (né Matt Shafer) has made a career out of confounding expectations. He wrote a large portion of Kid Rock's randy, diamond-certified (for sales of 10 million) album Devil Without a Cause, then moved on to record the Dobie Gray classic "Drift Away," which became the longest-running No. 1 single in the history of album-oriented rock. Despite all this, Kracker heads into his latest release, Seventy Two and Sunny, with no more than guarded optimism.

"You know, I always hope that the albums do well, but you just never know," the Detroit native admits. "I mean, Devil Without a Cause was out for eight months before it sold shit. When I broke off and did Double Wide, the label and everyone just expected it to piggyback off of Kid's success, and that just didn't happen. Even the last one (2002's No Stranger to Shame) didn't really do a lot until "Drift Away" took off. All I do is make what I hope is the best record I can, and once I'm satisfied with it, I turn it in and then go to work on touring.

"I look back at the old bands, and they didn't even need a big hit on the radio to make it. I mean, think about guys like Bob Seger or Jim Croce or whoever you want to name. They had hits, but they made their way out on the live stage. If the music is good enough, the people will come out to the shows, and they will keep coming as long as you give them a good reason each time they see you. I just hope people that come and see my shows are convinced to come back again."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.