With Kid Rock's "Only God Knows Why" playing in the background, Kid Rock's protégé Uncle Kracker poses his mentor a question: "What if I don't make it?" It's hard to believe that a musician would open his major label debut CD with inspirational career advice from Kid Rock. But Kid Rock does know a thing or two about becoming a rock icon to legions of suburban teens and porn stars. As Kid Rock's self-proclaimed best friend/DJ/backup singer/multi-platinum co-writer/sidekick thug boy, Uncle Kracker has Kid Rock's MTV-ready charisma and raunchy rock-rap fur-lined coattails to thank for the existence of this album. Maybe there is something in his native waters of Detroit, but Uncle Kracker definitely takes full advantage of the opportunity and delivers an amusing, party-ready debut CD of country, rockabilly, and hip-hop-infused rock & roll that is guaranteed to please.
Each song drips with Uncle Kracker's laid-back, white-trash, Detroit-worshiping, beer-swilling attitude. "Better Days" is a soulful, country-fried rock ode to drifting through life, ready-made for an afternoon of lawn chairs and sun. "What 'Chu Lookin' At?" is a declaration of moving on, dissing girls of the past, and partying on. "Heaven" is a memorial to the glory of Detroit that perfectly blends the twanging country guitars of "If Heaven Ain't a Lot Like Dixie" with testosterone-drenched hard rock. It's male bravado, plain and simple.
Your opinion of Uncle Kracker, however, is largely dependent on your opinion of Kid Rock. Kid Rock's fingerprints are left all over the album, which is understandable considering he produced and co-wrote nearly every song. The album is even filled with samples from Kid Rock's breakthrough album, 1998's Devil Without a Cause. If you loved Devil Without a Cause and History of Rock, you'll find Double Wide a welcome third helping. It's more of the same; however, Uncle Kracker provides an added dose of melody to the Kid Rock formula with his gravelly, mellow, and rather soulful voice. It lacks the mosh-pit power of Devil Without a Cause but eclipses nearly everything on History of Rock. At times, the album does sound a bit recycled, but when you're having this much fun at a party, who really cares? Who knows how long the formula will remain fresh, but on Double Wide, Uncle Kracker hits like a full house of raucous dynamite.