Eighteen years ago today (April 3, 2004) was a big day for both Kenny Chesney and Uncle Kracker: It was on that date that their duet "When the Sun Goes Down" soared to the top of the charts.

"When the Sun Goes Down" was the title track of Chesney's seventh studio album, and for the country superstar, it was also his seventh return to the No. 1 spot. But for Uncle Kracker, it was the beginning of an enduring relationship with country music fans. The artist hit the road with Chesney the following year on Chesney's Somewhere in the Sun Tour, which also featured Gretchen Wilson and Pat Green.

Uncle Kracker, a Michigan native, began his music career as a DJ for Kid Rock in 1994 and, after his hit with Chesney, released the single "Smile," from his Happy Hour album, in 2009. The song became a multi-platinum hit and landed in the Top 10 on both the country and adult contemporary charts. Uncle Kracker followed that single with a duet with Rock, "Good to Be Me," which also landed in the Top 30.

Still, the singer-songwriter is adamant that, while he's had some success in country music, he still has a lot to learn from the genre: "I had always thought about country, but it’s a very tricky thing," he tells The Boot.

"I remember entertaining the idea of dabbling around with the country stuff after the Chesney thing, and I thought, you know what, I’ve seen so many guys come through and try to do country records and just jump on the country bandwagon without giving it the respect it deserves. And I said to myself, if I ever did something like that, you always have to pay respect to the people you need to pay respect to, not just in country music but in life," Uncle Kracker continues. "And I’ve always been a firm believer that with just the right idea, maybe further down the road I’ll get there the right way."

This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.

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