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Uncle Kracker, ‘Midnight Special’ Keeps Laid-Back Vibe

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Uncle Kracker recently released his latest country-tinged CD, Midnight Special. The Detroit native has not only found a second home in country music, he’s made some great friends as well, since teaming with Kenny Chesney on the smash duet “When the Sun Goes Down.” He actually enlisted the help of an old buddy, Alan Jackson‘s producer Keith Stegall, for the new CD, and it seems the two share the exact same level of intensity — or lack thereof — when working on a project

“Stegall’s awesome, we’ve been friends a long time,” Kracker tells The Boot. “We’ve always threatened each other with working together. But on this record it just seemed appropriate. I felt like Keith could knock this one out of the park and he did. He’s great. Keith’s never not laid back — he’s all laid back, all the time. I love it though. That’s why we get along so good!”

Along with spending time on tour with Kenny, Kracker has also logged time on the road with Brantley Gilbert and the Zac Brown Band. All that time spent among country fans has helped him get a good pulse on the kind of music they want to hear. He’s also learned not to rush the process when making his albums and singles, like his latest, “Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night,” no matter how intense the pressure may be to finish.

“I take my time making a record,” he explains. “Even that last record [2009's Happy Hour], I went almost five years without putting something out before it came out. I had written and recorded an album, mastered and mixed it even, and I just pulled the plug. I didn’t like the record and I wasn’t happy with it. So that’s when I went in and started doing another record. Nobody was happy about it — I was happy about it! I’m not really one to sit around and say, ‘You know what, I can no longer compromise my artistic integrity.’ I’m not that type of person, either. But it felt right. I wouldn’t want something out there that I couldn’t stand behind. Who wants to go tour [with] a record they don’t like? I don’t like anyone else telling me when the album’s ready.”

Kracker says he also lets audiences decide when the material is ready for an album. “I spend nine months a year out on the road, and I listen to people every day. You get a pretty good read. You try to keep your ear to the street. When you’re out there and you’re with those people, you feel like you’ve got a pretty good gauge of when your record’s done. That’s when you have an album — when you can be proud of it, when whatever you wanted to say, you’ve said. That’s what I feel like with this one. If I never put out another album, I’ll be happy just putting this one out.”

Get a list of upcoming Uncle Kracker tour dates here. Read more of our exclusive interview here.

Watch Uncle Kracker’s ‘Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night’ Video

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