Jump to content

Uncle Kracker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Uncle Kracker
Uncle Kracker performing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2023
Uncle Kracker performing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2023
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Shafer
Born (1974-06-06) June 6, 1974 (age 50)
Mount Clemens, Michigan, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • turntables
Years active1987–present

Matthew Shafer (born June 6, 1974), also known by his stage name Uncle Kracker, is an American singer and musician. He was previously a turntablist for Kid Rock's backing group Twisted Brown Trucker and since 1999 has recorded as a solo artist. His singles "Follow Me" and "Drift Away" were top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Early life[edit]

Shafer was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, on June 6, 1974.[3] With his brother Mike Shafer, he visited a nightclub in Clawson, Michigan, where a turntables competition was occurring. His older brother was competing against a then-unknown musician, Kid Rock. Shafer soon became friends with Kid Rock. In those times, he was mainly rapping. He went to L'Anse Creuse High School.[4] In 1994, Kid Rock asked Shafer to play turntables for his band called Twisted Brown Trucker. Shafer knew nothing of using turntables, but since his brother was an experienced DJ, he agreed. He only performed at live shows at the time, until he began recording for Rock's album, Early Mornin' Stoned Pimp; Shafer was a featured vocalist on some of the tracks. He then began working on a solo album, but he continued being the DJ for Kid Rock. Upon the release of Rock's multi-platinum album, The History of Rock, Shafer decided that it was time to release his first solo album, Double Wide in 2000.


Double Wide[edit]

Double Wide was Uncle Kracker's first solo album. Released on June 30, 2000, it peaked at Number 7 on the Billboard 200 album chart and is Shafer's most successful and highest-selling album. The album was produced by Kid Rock, with mixing additional production by Michael Bradford. The first single taken off the album was "Follow Me", which was co-written with Bradford, and peaked at Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2001. The album spent the next 10 months on the Billboard 200, and "Follow Me" also had a long chart run. His second single, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah", failed to hit the Hot 100 chart; however, the song has been released one year earlier in the soundtrack of Shanghai Noon.[5] Double Wide was certified 2× Multi-Platinum on November 29, 2001.[6]

No Stranger to Shame[edit]

After a great deal of touring to promote the first album, he began to work on a follow-up album. Entitled No Stranger to Shame, it was released on August 27, 2002. The album reached No. 43 on the Billboard albums chart. A hit single was released, a cover version of Dobie Gray's 1973 Top 5 hit, "Drift Away" – also including Gray as a guest vocalist. Kracker's version of this song peaked at No. 9 on the Hot 100 one week to the day after Gray's 63rd birthday, and it set a record for most weeks at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, remaining atop this chart for 28 nonconsecutive weeks. Other singles released from No Stranger to Shame include "In A Little While", which peaked at No. 59 on the Hot 100 and No. 26 on the Adult Contemporary charts. A third single was released, "Memphis Soul Song", which charted on the Adult Top 40 at No. 35. A special remix of "Memphis Soul Song" was also released, featuring harmonies by legendary singing group The Jordanaires, who had famously sung harmonies with Elvis Presley. The album was certified gold by the RIAA within a year of its release. Soon after this period, Kracker became good friends with country music star Kenny Chesney and the two began a successful touring partnership together, brought on by the success of Kenny's hit single "When the Sun Goes Down", featuring Uncle Kracker both on the single, and prominently in the video.

Seventy Two and Sunny[edit]

After touring, Shafer began working on a third album which he called Seventy Two and Sunny. It was his first not to feature a parental advisory label as well as the first one to not feature any hip-hop songs, and moved onto a pure country sound. The album featured two singles: "Rescue", which only charted at No. 20 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary singles chart but did not chart on any other charts, and "Writing It Down," which did not chart at all. Shafer did have some success that year though when he was featured on Chesney's track, "When the Sun Goes Down", which peaked at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart, and went on to achieve Gold status. Seventy Two and Sunny has sold about 200,000 copies. It peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard 200.

Happy Hour[edit]

Uncle Kracker's fourth studio album is entitled Happy Hour.[7] The album was in the works for five years and was delayed due to Atlantic Records' decision to bring in Rob Cavallo to produce the album right as they were finishing their cut of the album in late 2007. An early promo version of the album contained the tracks "Happy Hour", "Vegas Baby", "I'm Not Leaving", "The One That Got Away", and "That's What's Happenin". "Smile," the first single from the album, was released on July 13, 2009, and has peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was released on September 15, 2009. "Smile" also became his first solo entry on the Hot Country Songs chart, where it debuted at No. 57 for the week of November 7, 2009, and peaked at No. 6 in September 2010. A music video for the track "My Girlfriend" was released in November 2009, though there has been no official word whether it will be serviced as the album's second single. The album also features country singer Jesse Lee (also on Atlantic Records) in a duet they wrote called "Me Again."

Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions[edit]

A six-song EP, Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions, was released on June 22, 2010. The EP features country remakes of songs off the Happy Hour album. The singles released were a remake of "Smile" and "Good to Be Me", featuring Kid Rock.

Midnight Special[edit]

Uncle Kracker performing in 2012

On November 16, 2012, Uncle Kracker released his fifth studio album, Midnight Special, produced by Keith Stegall. Sugar Hill Records and Vanguard Records released the album under parent company Welk Music Group. The album was a full-fledged country record. The first single to come off of the album was "Nobody's Sad on a Saturday Night", followed by "Blue Skies". Shafer performed songs from the album while on the road with Kid Rock for his $20 Best Night Ever Tour during 2013.

New singles (2018–present)[edit]

On August 10, 2018, Kracker released his new single entitled "Floatin'", along with an accompanying music video.[8]

On May 4, 2020, "No Time to Be Sober" premiered with a simple lockdown music video.[9] On December 21, 2020, "Silver Bells" released for Christmas.[10]

On June 9, 2023, Uncle Kracker released the single "Sweet 16".[11]

On July 20, 2023, "Reason to Drink" was released.[12]

Uncle Kracker toured with Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top on their Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour, which commenced on July 21, 2023 in West Palm Beach and concluded on September 17 in Camden.[13]

On October 19, 2023, "Cruising Altitude" released after the finished tour.[14]

"Beach Chair," Uncle's latest single with accompanying video directed by The Manning Brothers, was released on May 31, 2024.

Personal life[edit]

Shafer was married to Melanie Haas from 1998 to 2014. They had three children together. Shafer has two children with his second wife.[15]

In 2007, Shafer was arrested for a second-degree sex offense charge and released on $75,000 bond.[16][17] He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to a year of probation.[18][19]



  1. ^ a b Staff (November 25, 2015). "Country-rap pioneer Uncle Kracker brings his pure country-rock shine to Royal Oak Friday, Nov. 27". Metro Times. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  2. ^ Dukes, Billy (October 8, 2012). "Little Big Town vs. Uncle Kracker – The Showdown". Taste of Country. a man best known for his success in the pop-rock world.
  3. ^ a b Wilson, Mackenzie. "Uncle Kracker biography". AllMusic. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "Uncle Kracker On Eminem/ICP Gun Incident". YAHOO!. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  5. ^ "Shanghai Noon – Cast | IMDbPro". pro.imdb.com. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
  6. ^ "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – November 21, 2010: Double Wide certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Uncle Kracker "frustrated" by album delay". Yahoo! Music News. Retrieved May 11, 2009.
  8. ^ Uncle Kracker - Floatin' [Official Video], retrieved October 26, 2023
  9. ^ Uncle Kracker - No Time to Be Sober [Official Video], retrieved October 26, 2023
  10. ^ Uncle Kracker - Silver Bells, retrieved October 26, 2023
  11. ^ Sweet 16, retrieved October 26, 2023
  12. ^ Reason To Drink, retrieved October 26, 2023
  13. ^ Uncle Kracker - Drift Away - Live - Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour - 8/11/23, retrieved October 26, 2023
  14. ^ Cruising Altitude, retrieved October 26, 2023
  15. ^ "Uncle Kracker & Wife Welcome Baby Boy". Country Rebel. October 30, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Uncle Kracker Arrested On Sex Offense Charge". Billboard.
  17. ^ "Uncle Kracker Arrested on Second-Degree Sex Offense Charge". Fox News. March 25, 2015.
  18. ^ "Singer Pleads Guilty; Gets Probation in Bar Incident". WRAL.com. September 2, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
  19. ^ "Uncle Kracker not happy with guilty plea – USATODAY.com". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. November 1, 2007. Retrieved May 31, 2013.

External links[edit]