When I left home early this afternoon, headed to our Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., I called my husband at the office, and I said, “I won’t be late tonight. It’s Uncle Kracker. I’ll probably just stay for a song or two, grab a few pictures to post on the web site, and head home. His show starts at 8 p.m., I should be back around 9:30.” Yep, that’s what I told my husband. But you know what? I have been wrong before. And I was definitely wrong this time.
I had no idea what to expect from an Uncle Kracker show. Of course I knew who he was. I knew his song with Kenny Chesney, and I knew “Smile,” and I even knew “Drift Away.” But I am a country music fan, and I’m country music blogger. I really wasn’t sure if Uncle Kracker was a country singer. I’m still not sure – but I am sure he put on a great show tonight in Gray, Tenn.
I can’t go any farther without saying thank you to his fans. He had a nearly sold-out audience, and his fans were nice. They were considerate, caring, and obviously wanted to make sure everyone got to enjoy the show. I’ll explain that a little more – but if you need something to compare this to, please read what I wrote last night, after Jake Owen finished his show at our fair. Huge difference. So thank you, to everyone who went to see the show tonight. I for one appreciated how you acted in the audience. Tonight’s crowd spent most of the show sitting down, singing along and clapping. They stood when the songs were fast, they sat when they were a little slower, they sat when Uncle Kracker was talking to us. You could always tell when a song the fans recognized started to play, that’s when they stood up. It was a fun crowd, but at the same time – a very polite crowd. And everyone in that audience had an opportunity to SEE the show. And everyone in that audience enjoyed the show. It was a just fun night.
He sang a few songs that he said were ‘new’, or ‘off the new record.’ One of them was called “Blue Skies”, and that one will be releasing this fall. I am guessing it will release to country radio, but I would describe it as a ‘rockin’ country’ song. The lyrics are definitely country. the melody is anyone’s guess. But from the reaction of the very large crowd tonight, I’m thinking that no matter what genre’ you want to put it in – it is definitely going to be a hit with his fans.
I have one, really little, teeny, tiny complaint about the show tonight. Most of you who have been reading Country’s Chatter for nearly five years now know that our Appalachian Fair has a fantastic runway (catwalk, if you will). The runway jets out into the audience, and most of the artists take a stroll down the runway, many times during their show. Some (like Jake last night) even drag a stool out there to the middle of the ramp, sit down, and play from there. I don’t think Uncle Kracker ever worked with this kind of set up. Because while he did talk to his audience, and even make eye contact with them, he did not use the ramp. Not at all. He totally avoided it, and stayed back on the stage with the rest of his band. Uncle K – if you come back to the Appalachian Fair again, please walk out on that ramp. It’s an opportunity for you to reach down and shake hands with some of your fans, and it gives your back rows a better opportunity for picture taking.
He mentioned several times that everyone on stage with him was from Detroit, including himself. So it was kinda funny hearing him refer to his audience as y’all – and do it with a southern accent as well. If there was anyone there who wanted to question whether or not he belonged in country music, he pretty much showed them that he did, with his rendition of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.” I loved his Jim Croce’ “Big, Bad LeRoy Brown.” In fact, I can’t think of any single song that I wasn’t happy with. My favorite song of the night is one that I’m not even sure of it’s name – one of the lines in it was ‘postcard from Graceland’… and I think the song title is probably something like “When I Close My Eyes,” or “Every Time I Close My eyes.” Whatever it is – it’s a great song.
If you ever have the chance to see Uncle Kracker, but maybe said ‘I think I’ll pass on this concert’, take my advice – don’t pass on this concert. He puts on a good show, and he works hard. He’s always moving (makes photo-taking a little difficult, but he’s fun to watch). I’m not sure why he doesn’t weigh 95 pounds, if he works like that every time he’s on the stage. He definitely gets his exercise.
From the Meet & Greet to the encore’ – it was a good night to be at the Appalachian Fair in Gray. Now, here are a few more pictures, and the band, from tonight’s show.
I’ll be back in just a little while. I need to tell you all about tonight’s opening act, The Twang Bangers. Two for the price of one tonight – and both performances were great.