(born Matthew Shafer) stepped out from behind the turntables to release his debut solo album,
, in 2001.
since 1994, and both favored a combination of funky, post-grunge rock with a hip-hop aesthetic.
also sported a polished pop single entitled "Follow Me," and the album went double platinum on the strength of that Top 10 hit.
and Uncle Kracker
were practically family. The two met in 1987 in Clawson, Michigan, where Rock
was spinning in an all-ages DJ contest at a popular nightspot called Daytona's. After discovering a mutual fondness for the Commodores
, Lynyrd Skynyrd
, and George Jones
, the pair became fast friends. One of Kracker
's first musical contributions was on Rock
's 1996 release, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp, and he also co-wrote and performed on Rock
's multi-platinum breakthrough, Devil Without a Cause
. Striking while the iron was hot, he chose to launch his own career in the wake of Devil
Produced by Kid Rock
and Mike Bradford
, the Lava Records release Double Wide
was a radio-friendly effort that blended elements of country, mainstream modern rock, and rap. One year after its release, Uncle Kracker
returned with a sophomore album named No Stranger to Shame
, scoring another Top Ten hit with a faithful rendition of Mentor Williams
' "Drift Away." Taking much from the inspiration of early-'70s rock, he issued Seventy Two & Sunny
in late June 2004, but the album failed to live up to its predecessors' success. Kracker
renewed his hit-making credentials by co-writing Kid Rock
's popular single "All Summer Long," however, and he returned to the solo game in 2009 with Happy Hour
. The next year, Uncle Kracker
followed up with the EP Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions, which featured country remakes of songs from Happy Hour
. Uncle Kracker
's next full-length album, his first for Sugar Hill after leaving Atlantic, was the Keith Stegall-produced Midnight Special, which appeared in the fall of 2012. In 2014 he returned to the Lava Records label with the single "Endlessly."