Uncle Kracker No Stranger to Shame

Sometimes people find fame in their affiliations. Unfortunately when Uncle Kracker, aka Matt Shafer, released his debut CD, Double Wide, he received mass attention strictly for being the man that spins in Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker band. I have to admit that I wrote him off pretty quickly for that association when "Follow Me" hit the charts. But the follow-up disc, No Stranger to Shame, has inched my opinion in another direction. This disc picks up the twang-rock torch that was extinguished alongside bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd., while the cover version of Dobie Gray's country classic "Drift Away" illuminates Uncle Kracker's influences with its crystal-clear slide guitar, layered backing vocals and Little River Band organ. And the gospel, big band, Joe Jackson-ish style on lead track "I Do" is deserving of praise. But deeper into the disc, Uncle Kracker returns to token and hokey hip-hop tracks ("Keep It Comin'") and a over-expressed countrified sound ("Memphis Soul Song"), which is in the same vain of his first hit record. No Stranger to Shame doesn't have the stamina to last 50 minutes, and that is a shame. (Warner)