Clay Patrick McBride

Uncle Kracker, whose real name is Matthew Shafer, will perform Saturday at Jackson Rancheria.

Uncle Kracker serves up country rock at Jackson Rancheria

Published: Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am

Uncle Kracker (Matthew Shafer) may have started his musical career in rap, but he has become far better known for his easy-listening, country-rock hits.

Once a DJ for Kid Rock, Shafer stepped out from behind the turntables in search of a solo career, beginning with his debut album “Double Wide” in 2000.

He has since put a bear hug on nostalgia-tinged pop music (a remix of “Drift Away” with the original singer Dobie Gray on vocals had a long chart run) and has lately been seen with the likes of Kenny Chesney and performing on the same bill with Merle Haggard.

Uncle Kracker is scheduled to perform Saturday at Jackson Rancheria, with a lively crowd expected. Having come through the season of fairs and other outdoor venues, Shafer will likely be ready for the more intimate surroundings. It’s a good chance to feature music from his latest album, “Midnight Special,” including the radio-friendly boot-stomper “Nobody’s Sad on a Saturday Night.”

Shafer is from Michigan and his music references the working-class people who populated his world as he was growing up. He once said he tends to be most comfortable around folk who have jacked-up pickup trucks.

That may be an attempt to pander to a certain segment of his fan base, or it may be an earnest statement (it could also be both).

His music, though, is clearly sincere (listen to his latest single “Blue Skies”), and that is what counts. (7 p.m.; $20; jacksoncasino.com)

• On Tuesday, Lake Tahoe’s MontBleu hosts the debut of the Fall Harvest Reggae Jam, toplined by Shaggy, who won the Best Reggae Album Grammy in 1996 for “Boombastic.” Still going strong in Europe, Shaggy released “Summer in Kingston” in 2011. The record featured the single “Fired Up” with Pitbull and earned a Grammy nomination. The Reggae group Thrive is also on the MontBleu bill. (Blu Nightclub, 10 p.m.; $25 in advance, $20 at the door; Ticketmaster.com)

• Ski season signals the inevitable movie from Warren Miller, probably the best filmmaker in the sport. This year’s edition is “Ticket to Ride,” and it shows at Harrah’s Tahoe, in the South Shore Room, tonight and Saturday. (7:30 p.m.; $16; Ticketmaster.com)

• Regardless of the personal challenges Wayne Newton has faced lately, he can always take solace in the fact he still sells out giant venues and doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as he did in those years when he was just starting out, often playing up to five sets a night in casino cabarets, his voice competing with the clang of slot machines. His audience has grown older with him, but they love him, and Mr. Las Vegas still works the stage like a master. He’s at Cache Creek on Saturday. (7 p.m.; $49, $59, $75; cachecreek.com)

Read more articles by Mel Shields



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