When it comes to weather conditions, we can all agree that 72 AND SUNNY is pretty perfect. It's warm enough to get a tan but not so hot that you're sweating like a pig. It's nice enough for any outdoor activity but not so oppressive that it prohibits any of them.
72 AND SUNNY is also the title of Uncle Kracker's third album, and it's, well, pretty perfect itself. Following 2000's double-platinum DOUBLE WIDE and 2002's chart-topping NO STRANGER TO SHAME -- which launched Uncle Kracker's record-setting rendition of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" -- 72 AND SUNNY is the most fully realized album to date from Kid Rock's former DJ and hype man. Its 13 songs offer an artistic triumph of songwriting and performance that is the best expression yet of the Uncle Kracker sound, emphasizing high-quality melodic songwriting and a unique stylistic synthesis that knits together elements of pop, rock, country, soul, blues and even doo-wop but retains a strong identity that could only belong to one singer-songwriter. Think about the warm, earnest sound of classics such as THE BAND, Rod Stewart's GASOLINE ALLEY or Little Feat's TIME LOVES A HERO and you have a sense of the high artistic mark Uncle Kracker aspires towards this time out.
Uncle Kracker (aka Matt Shafer) recorded 72 AND SUNNY with Michael Bradford, his collaborator on DOUBLE WIDE and NO STRANGER TO SHAME, earlier this year primarily at Bradford's Chunky Style Music Studios in Burbank, Calif., with additional work at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville. Bradford did the majority of the instrumental work, with drums by Jerome Day from Uncle Kracker's touring band and session legend Russ Kunkel. Country superstar Kenny Chesney duets with Uncle Kracker on "Last Night Again," returning the favor for Uncle Kracker's participation in Chesney's No. 1 hit "When the Sun Goes Down." Other guests include Poison's Bret Michaels and Nashville luminary Phil Vassar. Grammy and Oscar-winning songwriter Diane Warren, meanwhile, penned the first single, "Rescue," especially for Uncle Kracker.
72 AND SUNNY blazes a new pathway for the man who, in his own words, "can write a song to make the whole world laugh or cry." With its tales of loves lost and found, redemption and good times, 72 AND SUNNY runs an emotional gamut that few artists achieve anymore and definitely leaves us smiling in the end. The forecast is perfect indeed.
Uncle's next studio album is scheduled for release later in 2008.