Playing second fiddle to metalli-rap's most annoying superstar, Kid Rock, comes with perks: namely, license to release one's own brand of twisted brown trucker-rock. In 2000, Uncle Kracker scored a surprise hit with the throwaway "Follow Me," which helped its parent album, Double Wide, move more than two million units -- most of which are currently crowding 99-cent bins around the nation.
Still, going double-platinum virtually guarantees a sequel, and Kracker unleashed his follow-up, No Stranger to Shame, on an unsuspecting public last fall. Like that of his boss, Kracker's beer-battered fluff harks back to the days when Lynyrd Skynyrd tapestries adorned the walls of basement bedrooms everywhere. Not that Kracker and Skynyrd have much in common, other than a fan base with more tattoos than brain cells. Eschewing Rock's penchant for trailer-park rapping, Kracker settles into a half-baked batch of midtempo faux soul, including an all-too-faithful rendition of Dobie Gray's don't-go-there signature number, "Drift Away."