No matter what he does or where he goes, Uncle Kracker adheres to a simple, yet rather timeless philosophy.
“I really subscribe to this mindset of just having fun,” he affirms. “That’s what it’s always about. It’s the train that I’m forever on. The way I feel is if I’m enjoying it, it’s really worth doing.”
That outlook has most definitely served him well over the years. After vaulting to stardom as a charismatic presence and chief collaborator in Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band, the Michigan singer, songwriter, and performer, also known as Matthew Shafer, kicked off a stunning solo career of his own.
His 2000 major label debut, Double Wide, fittingly went double-platinum and yielded #1 smash “Follow Me”. Its 2002 follow-up No Stranger To Shame reached gold status and spawned cross-format hits such as “In A Little While” and the powerful cover of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, which held the #1 spot on Adult Contemporary radio for a staggering 28 weeks. Country superstar Kenny Chesney tapped him for “When The Sun Goes Down”, which impressively spent five weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. Throughout, he played sold out shows across the country and appeared everywhere from the American Country Music Awards to Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Then, 2012 saw him fully embrace his country side with his critically acclaimed fifth outing, Midnight Special.
However, he’s having more fun than ever now.
In 2014, Uncle Kracker received a call from an old friend LAVA Records C.E.O. and founder Jason Flom. The artist recorded his new single “Endlessly”, and Flom re-signed him to LAVA to release the track.
“It was surreal,” smiles Uncle Kracker. “When we started talking again, it felt like no time had passed. It really brings me full circle to be back with Jason and doing something a little different. It’s round two with him, and I love watching him work to this day. I just thought it was cool to have somebody on the phone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about!”
Flom adds, “I have a great history with Uncle Kracker and a lot of respect for him as an artist. He’s had many major hits over the past decade, and I am excited about this next phase of his career at LAVA Records.”
“Endlessly” ignites the next chapter for Uncle Kracker. With a lilting piano intro, ponderous acoustic guitars, and a countrified pop hook, the track represents every side of this diverse and dynamic artist. Everything converges on the powerhouse refrain, “Endlessly for you, I’ll always wait” as he assures, “I love that girl”.
The song picks up where the artist left off on the full-on country Midnight Special, while eloquently adding a touch of the pop he’s known for—plus a little rock ‘n’ roll for good measure.
“When I hear it, I get a bunch of things going on in my head,” he reveals. “I think of exes—new ones and old ones. It doesn’t matter. It’s one of those songs that triggers a ton of different things. It could be about an old flame or that new girl. At the same time, it could be dedicated to your kids. A good song will elicit so many things. That’s what I love about it.”
In order to cut "Endlessly", he teamed up with lifelong friend Al Sutton [Kid Rock] and another buddy guitarist Marlon Young at his home away from home Rustbelt Studios. They tapped into something very vibrant and vital on a whim that ushers in the next phase of his career.
“It felt good," he goes on. “Al and Marlon made it easy for me. There will always be a pop thing happening in my music. That’s inescapable. I walk that line between country and pop, and that’s huge to me. I can go back and forth, and I never want to just stick to one sound. We’re covering new ground without reinventing any wheels. That’s what I dig about it. It’s different, but it’s me.”
In addition, he found the best gauge possible for the track—his two teenage daughters. "They were instantly into this," Uncle Kracker beams. "I use my kids for their ear! They have a pretty good lock on quality. They absolutely loved it, and that made me feel great."
During 2014, he'll hit the road with more buddies Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and Blues Traveler, hitting sheds across the country throughout the summer. His live show continues to get bigger and better with every tour. "It's very interactive," he says. "It's meant to be a party, and I want everybody involved. Each time we go on stage, I want people to leave smiling."
Moreover, Uncle Kracker is still having a blast, and fans worldwide undoubtedly will as well as soon as they hear what’s in store. “I’ve been very lucky to have the career I’ve had,” he leaves off. “I don’t take that for granted, and I want everybody to be able to share in this good time again. That’s the most important thing for me.”