In speaking with Uncle Kracker, the rock-pop-with-a-dash-of-country star, one gets the sense that he's really, really happy. "I am," said Matthew Shafer, aka Uncle Kracker, by phone en route to a recording studio in Detroit to put the finishing touches on his upcoming album. "I'm having a ball. I'm ecstatic to be making records and I'm ecstatic to be making records I want to make." Uncle Kracker performs at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday.
Uncle Kracker has deftly straddled the line between pop and country with songs like "Smile" and his earlier work with Kenny Chesney. Shafer attributes his appreciation for country music to his father, who blasted the likes of George Jones, Conway Twitty and Patsy Cline while working as a mechanic. "There was something about old country records that were very soothing," Shafer said. "It's reassuring to me. There's a soothingness about country music. What draws me to it is the familiarity of it."