Originally Release '02 , Second album from Kid Rock's turntable Wizard , a collection of willowy jangle rock with Motown and rap influences thrown in. Executive produced by Kid Rock.
Uncle Kracker might have rap-rock numbskull Kid Rock to thank for putting him on the map, but with the release of his solid sophomore set, the Michigan mauler can stand up and take a bow. For not only is Uncle Kracker the most Southern-sounding musician ever to emerge from the edge of the Great Lakes, he's also one of the most versatile. As such, No Stranger to Shame
is by turns country, rock, soul, blues, and sometimes a vigorous mix of the lot. The horn-section-goosing opening track "I Do" is pure Stax with a little '70s-era thwacketa-thwacketa guitar menace; "Thunderhead Hawkins," with its drawling vocals and slide guitar, is pure Arkansas front-porch boogaloo; "Memphis Soul Song" is just that; "To Think I Used to Love You" could have been torn from the Merle Haggard songbook; and "Keep It Comin'" is fierce hip-hop. A ballad, "Letter to My Daughters," is sweet if unnervingly sappy (think Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses"), while Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath adds negligible freight to the title track. But No Stranger to Shame
's finest moment is a borrowed one--a faithful cover of Dobie Gray's inspirational rock & roll love letter, "Drift Away." An underappreciated classic from the early '70s, "Drift Away" still sounds relevant, and Kracker's soulful version--featuring Gray himself--will do much to spotlight that comforting old chestnut. --Kim Hughes