Uncle Kracker has enjoyed success at country radio with his latest hit, 'Smile,' so he's decided to release a special six-song EP of countrified versions of songs from his new album. The new set, 'Happy Hour: The South River Road Sessions,' hits stores later this month, and Kracker says he owes a lot to the DJs at the country station in his Detroit hometown, who went out on a limb and weren't afraid to drop the song into rotation last year.

"If it wasn't for WYCD, my label wouldn't have even thought about taking it to country radio," Kracker tells the Detroit News. "Country radio seems to have a few people left who take chances, and do things the way they want to do them regardless of who's going to yell at them. There still seems to be a general passion for music at the country stations I've visited."

Kracker attributes some of 'Smile's' appeal to the 1970s radio vibe he remembers hearing as a kid. "I grew up listening to a lot of that AM '70s stuff. Barry Manilow, BJ Thomas and stuff like that were always running through my house," he says. "'Smile's' definitely got that AM '70s vibe. It's just a fun, upbeat, positive song. I don't know why, but you didn't hear a lot of sad, depressing, ballad-y stuff coming out of the '70s. It was a lot of happy songs. If it were up to me, I think everything oughta be happier."

Kracker just played the Detroit Hoedown country festival for the first time and says he plans to tour solidly for the next two years.

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