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Album review | POP/COUNTRY

Uncle Kracker, ‘Midnight Special’

Uncle Kracker, Kid Rock’s good buddy, occasional songwriting partner, and former DJ, slides fully and comfortably into the pop-country world with the easy breezy “Midnight Special.” His fifth album follows in the footsteps of previous hits like “Follow Me” and the Kenny Chesney duet “When the Sun Goes Down” with Kracker amiably ambling through sunny-side-up odes to contentment like “Blue Skies” and “Nuthin’ Changes,” a countrified descendant of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good.” Kracker does show a more serious side, wrapping a kernel of melancholy in a Zac Brown beer koozie on the soul-shaded, horn-flecked “In Between Disasters” and sheds tears in his beer for his gal back home on “I’d Be There.” The piano ballad “Who We Are” may employ contemporary country clichés — including name-checking musical heroes — but it has a poignancy that gets at the heart of the idea of losing yourself and your sorrows in your favorite music. The kicker, “It Is What It Is,” a duet that finds Kracker and Sonia Leigh trading gossip at the bar, is a lowdown delight. (Out now)

ESSENTIAL “It Is What It Is”

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