"Kenny always told me that if you're going to do anything, don't do it half-heartedly," Uncle Kracker tells The Boot. "It made a lot of sense. Just being in and out of Nashville as many times as I have in the past 10 years, I know how lucky I am to still be making records after 11 years now. I don't take anything for granted. I'm definitely not trying to step on anybody's toes. I'm a songwriter at heart. I'm a songwriter before I'm a musician, by any means. I love writing songs. Any time I can find a home for a song, I'm grateful and ecstatic all in the same.
"Being a songwriter, you're always looking to write the better song or always trying to top the one you wrote before," he continues. "It just seems like a never ending quest for the perfect song. I know that's a battle that I'll never win, but I definitely do like the way that country has embraced me. I've been extremely lucky."
Uncle Kracker's country debut, 'Smile,' broke Billboard's Top 10 charts earlier this year, peaking at No. 6. His latest single, 'Good to Be Me,' features another country crossover hitmaker, Kid Rock, on vocals.
"I think I learned a lot not only from Kenny, but from Kid Rock as well," Uncle Kracker adds. "They've both been big mentors. They are like older brothers. If there's one thing that I've learned from each of them it was never go into anything half-heartedly. I really believe that if your heart's not in it that you should not be doing it."
Now that he has a hit country single under his belt, what is Uncle Kracker's next country milestone? It would be to work with another legendary Kenny!
"I would love to do something with Kenny Rogers," he says with a grin. "I just think he is one of the greatest dudes ever. When I was really young, I used to think that I was Kenny Rogers. [laughs] I would slick my hair back, sit in my room with a guitar and sing 'Coward of the County' until I couldn't talk anymore. So Kenny Rogers is definitely someone I want to work with. I used to wish that he was my dad. Remember that movie 'Six Pack'? [Kenny's character's] name was Brewster. He raced cars. When I was young, my dad raced cars, too, and they kind of looked alike at the same time, but I always remember Kenny Rogers being much nicer.[laughs]"
Look for Uncle Kracker on the road over the next few weeks with country newcomer Frankie Ballard opening the shows. Click here for a complete list of dates where the two will be stopping.