Uncle Kracker first came to fame as a turntablist for Kid Rock’s backing group, Twisted Brown Trucker. In 2000, he branched out on his own with his first solo album, Double Wide. The album was a hit, peaking at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and eventually certifying 2x Platinum. Since then, he’s continued to enjoy success with his four subsequent albums and countless hit singles. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Uncle Kracker songs of all time.
10. Nuthin’ Changes
The 2012 album Midnight Special was the first album by Uncle Kracker not to be produced by Kid Rock. If Kracker was trying to prove he could get along just fine without his old buddy, he succeeded. One of its highlights is Nuthin’ Changes. The lyrics aren’t exactly Shakespeare, but it’s still a ton of fun, with a laid-back, country vibe and just enough rock to give it an edge.
9. It Is What It Is
Everyone has their own story to tell, something It Is What Is It reminds us of only too well. After writing the song, Kracker reached out to country singer Sonia Leigh (with whom he’d recently toured) and asked her if she wanted to sing it with him. She did, and together, the pair closed out Kracker’s 2012 album Midnight Special in style.
8. When I Close My Eyes
Midnight Special may have been Kracker’s fifth studio album, but it was his first full-fledged country album. He’d dipped his toes in the genre before, but here, he dives in headfirst. It was a wise move, resulting in an album that All Music describes as “a sunny, laid-back ride, a record made for lazy afternoons of day drinking.” Most of the songs are amiable and upbeat, but on When I Close My Eyes, Kracker gets serious as he recounts his failed attempts to forget a lost love. “And every time I close my eyes, you’re dancin’ ‘neath the full moonlight. Your faded jeans across the hood. My arms wrapped ’round you tight and good,” he sings. Touchingly moving, it’s become a firm fan favorite since its release in 2012.
7. Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night
Life can be tough, but on Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night, Kracker finds himself discovering the silver lining and rejoicing in living for the moment By coincidence, the accompanying music video happened to capture a moment of similar spontaneity, as Kracker later explained to CMT. “The coolest part was while we were filming there were these two couples that came up,” he recalled. “They were all dressed in cowboy hats and starched Wranglers — creased — and they just came up and started dancing out of the blue. It was awesome.” Recorded as the opening track for the 2012 album Midnight Special, the song was written by Kracker alongside JT Harding and Shane McAnally, who’ve previously enjoyed success with Kenny Chesney’s Somewhere With You and Jake Owen’s Alone With You.
6. My Hometown
As countrythangdaily.com says, on this upbeat ode to hometowns, Kracker gives a shout-out to dozens of towns and cities across the country. Born in Mississippi but raised in Harrison Township in Michigan, Kracker has always been proud of his roots, but while traveling across the US on tour, he noticed everyone, no matter what their hometown, were all going through the same kind of thing. “We have different accents, different industries, different weather maybe, but we’re all just trying to live our lives, pay our bills, give our kids a better life, and have some good times,” he’s said.
5. Good To Be Me
Uncle Kracker has always excelled at laid-back tunes, and in 2010, he pulled a classic out of the bag. Good To Be Me is the kind of song designed for Saturday nights, cloudless skies, and good times. There’s enough of a rock edge to keep things interesting, but at its heart, this is an easy-going, sunny charmer that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Released as the second single from the album Happy Hour, the song peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and No. 28 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
According to Kracker, Smile is “the most positive song” he’s ever written. “It’s just the feel-good song of the year. It’s so positive,” he’s said. Released as the first single from Kracker’s fourth studio album Happy Hour, it peaked at No. 31 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart – his first song as a solo artist to ever reach the chart. It also reached No. 2 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart and No. 3 on Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
3. In a Little While
In 2002, Uncle Kracker released his second studio album No Stranger to Shame. It was a commercial success, peaking at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spawning two hit singles. The first of those was In a Little While, which reached No. 59 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and No. 26 on the Adult Contemporary chart. According to songfacts.com, the song is about somebody living the good life, only to find that his lifestyle is so plastic and phony, he’s become unfulfilled and alienated.
2. Drift Away
Drift Away was originally recorded by swamp rock singer John Henry Kurtz on his 1972 album Reunion. In 1973, the song proved a massive hit for soul singer Dobie Gray, who took it to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. 30 years later, it became one of Uncle Kracker’s biggest hits to date. Released as the second single from the album No Stranger to Shame, it spent a mammoth 28 weeks at the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart – a record-breaking accomplishment that was eventually overtaken fifteen years later by Maroon 5’s Girls Like You.
1. Follow Me
On November 7, 2000, Uncle Kracker released Follow Me. Co-written by Kracker and Michael Bradford and produced by Bradford and Kid Rock, it may have featured ambiguous lyrics (some fans thought it was about drugs, while others speculated it was about infidelity) but the one thing that left no room for doubt was its hit potential. Released as the debut single from Kracker’s first album Double Wide, it was a huge international success, peaking at No. 1 in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Sweden and reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also entered the top 10 in Norway, Switzerland, and the UK, and the top 40 in numerous other territories.