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OUT IN THE CROWD: Uncle Kracker to perform at Wild Bill's

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Wild Bill's is closing out its fall country music concert series with a cross-over artist from the realm of rap-rock music.

Uncle Kracker went country with a 2004 collaboration with Kenny Chesney, "When The Sun Goes Down." Four years later, he co-wrote the Kid Rock hit "All Summer Long."

"I've always had a genuine passion for country," Uncle Kracker said. "I think that audiences appreciate that, and that's why they're giving me a chance. Country music was one of the types of music I grew up with, so elements of it naturally come out in my songwriting. Listening to a lot of my songs -- all the way back to 'Follow Me' -- I feel like I've been making country music for years."

Uncle Kracker embarked Thursday on his first-ever country music club tour, following up the recent release of "Happy Hour -- The South River Road Sessions," a six-song collection of remixed tracks off his 2009 album "Happy Hour," including the country radio hit "Smile," the third best-selling country single of 2010 thus far.

"Never really one to toot my own horn," he said, "but stuff just feels great for the first time in a long time."

Uncle Kracker said the tour is mainly about finding an audience.

"When we took the 'Smile' single to country radio it did so great and I was lucky to have everybody embrace it," he said. "And the fact that they did just made me think we needed to take this to a different place."

Opening for Uncle Kracker on Saturday night are fellow country music performers Frankie Ballard and Ty Stone. Doors open at 7:30 and the show will start at 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 678-473-1000 or visit www.wildbillsatlanta.com.