Uncle Kracker gears up for third Stars & Stripes appearance

They say good things come in threes and for Uncle Kracker, performing at the Stars & Stripes Festival for the third time in his career feels like a charm.

“Honestly, being on stage in your hometown, there’s no better feeling — and I’ve pretty much tried everything known to man,” Kracker said.

Funfest Events president Joe Nieportev says Kracker was tapped for the second and third Stars & Stripes festivals and felt the time his right for a third appearance. Kracker is always in demand in Macomb County, Nieporte said.

Looking back, Kracker — Matt Shafer of Harrison Township — couldn’t have contemplated as a guy in his 20s, running his father’s gas station in Mount Clemens that he would develop a successful career as a songwriter and singer.

It started in 2000 when he was enlisted by buddy Kid Rock to work the turntables and provide backup vocals with the Twisted Brown Trucker band for Rock’s burgeoning rap/rock career.

Kracker smoothly transitioned from rap to singing in a laidback, countryish manner as a solo artist — an unexpected, but artistically correct career move.

Now 42, he has five CDs under his belt and is working on the next one. The formula is similar to his previous albums: a healthy dose of country-flavored tunes, some dance music and couple of rockers.

Speaking by cell phone while cruising in his boat on Lake St. Clair, Kracker said he’s been nurturing new material for the past two years. Look for an early 2017 release.

“I’m just putting the finishing touches on an album now,” Kracker said. “I hope people like the stuff, I do. And Kid Rock is in the studio doing a new record, too. He’s still out there doing his shows.”

For the Stars & Stripes show, the set list will include his hit singles such as “Follow Me” and “Drift Away. He also hinted we might hear some deep-cut classic nuggets from the past.

“There’s nothing like playing in your hometown,” Kracker said. “You can play material you don’t normally do. You can get away with so much more when you’re home.”

Sure beats working in a gas station.

By Mitch Hotts


• Uncle Kracker performs 9:45-11 p.m. Saturday on the Budweiser National Stage at The 10th annual Stars & Stripes Festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday at Freedom Hill County Park, 14900 Metropolitan Pkwy., Sterling Heights. Other bands performing this weekend include Styx, Seether, Critical Bill, Led Zeppelin 2, Jo Caine and more. The festival also includes a midway, food vendors and attractions. Admission is free, but parking at Freedom Hill costs $15. For more information, visit starsandstripesfest.com.

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