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"I don't know how to describe it, to be honest with you," he tells Billboard of what fans can expect from the new disc. "I hate the word 'Americana,' so I won't use it. I don't even know what Americana is, exactly. I can't say this is a country record, but I can't say it's a pop record, either. The last record [2009's 'Happy Hour'] I could tell you was a pop/rock record. This one is just ... fun. Put it in the Super Fun section."
The 36-year-old earned fans in country, pop and even Contemporary Christian music, with his 2009 hit, 'Smile,' which marked his first Top 40 hit since 2003. The tune, which was also a Top 10 country hit, made the Michigan native rethink how he makes music.
"Everybody was like, 'Smile' crossed over big in country, now are gonna make a country record?' I felt like if I said, 'Yeah, I am' and I handed a record in, everybody was gonna go, 'That's not a country record,' " the tunesmith explains. "I felt like you're almost damned if you do. So I'd rather make a record I like and turn it in and let everybody say, 'That sounds like country.' Once you tell 'em it's country, they'll be like, 'That ain't country!'"
Still, in spite of his hesitancy to join the genre of his tourmate, Kenny Chesney, the singer-songwriter adds that he would "love to make a full-on country record" someday. But for now, he's heeding the words of his tour boss and friend as he contemplates his musical future.
"Kenny always told me that if you're going to do anything, don't do it half-heartedly," 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."
Uncle Kracker will wrap up his gig as opening act on Kenny's Goin' Coastal tour later this month, which will allow him to focus on finishing up the new album. See the remaining tour dates here.