Country rocker Uncle Kracker talks, life, love and drama

Country rock fans in mid-Missouri got a special treat Tuesday night at the Blue Note in Columbia.

Michigan based musician Uncle Kracker, who's real name is Matthew Shafer, played for a crowd of hundreds.

Shafer took the time to reflect on his new album, tour and surviving life in the public eye.

Known for hits like "Follow Me," "Smile," and "Drift Away," and working with country music star Kenny Chesney, Shafer's image hasn't always been polished.

In August 2007 he was arrested on a second-degree sex offense in North Carolina after a 26-year-old woman accused him of assault.

"I don't ever wanna go through a situation like that ever again," said Shafer. "I do see other people go through the same thing and you know in other people's cases, in other people's stories, there's a lot of inconsistencies. I feel bad for anyone involved in situations like that."

Shafer was later charged with a misdemeanor. But throughout his difficult situation Shafer said he could only think of his three daughters.

"Anytime something like that happens you think of your daughters first. I, as a father think of my kids first. It always comes down to your kids."

And Shafer says it was kids that put inspiration into his current album "Happy Hour."

"I think my kids are 100 percent responsible for this record," said Shafer. "About two years ago I had already recorded an album and my oldest daughter came up and said 'Dad we don't listen to your songs, we can't dance to your records.' She kinda pushed me into a different directions. I threw out the album that I recorded and I started a new one."

He says the album is about life, love -- or lack there of.

"It's not a big departure from anything that I've been doing already," said Shafer. "I didn't re-invent any wheels, did nothing too fancy. Just put a lot more fun back into what I was doing and the reaction's been great."

Kracker is also known for helping another Michigan based musician Kid Rock.

"We're best friends," said Shafer. "I do a lot of shows with him. While I've been on tour, he's writing a new record that I couldn't be a part of. It's never planned out whenever we do anything together."

He says other friends back home remain unemployed after the auto industry's hard hit from the recession.

"No one really believes what's happened to them, has happened to them yet," said Shafer. "There's a million different ways to help people back home. Everybody's waiting around to see what's still gonna happen. There's a lot of hope in Detroit."

Uncle Kracker is scheduled to tour the U.S. through mid-July.