Uncle Kracker - Seventy Two & Sunny 
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Dan MacIntosh   
Tuesday, 29 June 2004

Lava Records
performance 7
sound 6
released 2004

Listening to Uncle Kracker is sometimes like watching a talented baseball player being just plain lazy. You know, these are the kinds of athletes that just let fly balls drop right in front of them, rather than diving for them. Or they might merely jog to first base, instead of giving it 100% on a grounder. Uncle Kracker sounds like he’s absentmindedly taking batting practice throughout much of this disc. Seventy Two & Sunny is stocked high with predictable romantic sentiments and couched in borrowed musical ideas, but Uncle Kracker appears to be merely collecting a paycheck, rather than playing the game to win.

During “A Place at My Table,” which is Kracker’s lyrical ode to his old school musical influences, he sings: “George Jones sang me to sleep/Whether he knew it or not.” But rather than waking the house up -- as Mr. Jones was certainly known to do -- Kracker returns the favor to his idol by merely singing his audience to sleep. George Jones, in fact, is probably the last name brought to mind when it comes to naming the artists that have most inspired Uncle Kracker. Instead, Steve Miller is pictured with “This Time,” and “Pink Houses”-era John Mellencamp is conjured up by “Songs About Me, Songs About You.” On the latter, he sings: “There won’t be no songs ‘bout regret/Cause I ain’t wrote no songs like that yet.” But no pain on his part means no gain on the listener’s behalf. George Jones sang plenty of songs about regret, which greatly enriched the culture. It was as if he hurt so that we wouldn’t have to be in pain.

Uncle Kracker touches upon a wide variety of fine musical styles throughout, yet never adds much of his uniqueness to them. Classic soul can be heard filling out the grooves of “Please Come Home” and “Further Down the Road.” With Kracker’s duet partner, Kenny Chesney, “Last Night Again” goes a little country, while “Writing it Down” includes strings and leans closely to the Elton John ballad mode. Kracker also picks up the pace a bit with the hand-clapping “Rescue,” and does the same with the knee-slapping and harmonica-colored “A Place at My Table.”

Kid Rock has been Uncle Kracker’s benefactor for quite a while, but the best thing he can do for the man right now is give him swift kick in the pants. Kid Rock has mastered the art of creating mainstream country music, without ever sacrificing his dangerous, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll reputation. Kid Rock is both exciting and unpredictable, which cannot ever be said about Uncle Kracker. Seventy Two & Sunny sure makes one long for a burst of Kid Rock’s stormy musical weather.

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