Cracker may be considered a somewhat traditional rock band (almost comparable to roots rock at times), yet singer/guitarist David Lowery’s roots were anything but traditional since he fronted the ‘80s alternative outfit Camper Van Beethoven. Shortly after Camper Van Beethoven called it quits in 1990, Lowery began demoing material along with guitarist Johnny Hickman and bassist Davey Faragher, eventually going by the name Cracker (several of these early demos would eventually surface under the title of David Lowery Demo Mixes). By 1991, the newly formed band had signed a recording contract with Virgin and enlisted the help of several drummers/percussionists (Jim Keltner, Rick Jaeger, and Phil Jones), issuing their self-titled debut in 1992. A year later, Cracker issued their best-known album, Kerosene Hat, which spawned the popular MTV/rock radio hit “Low.” But by the time of their third release, 1996’s The Golden Age, Faragher had been replaced with Bob Rupe, while the drum spot was occupied by a trio of players: Charlie Quintana, Eddie Bayers, and Johnny Hott.
After the album’s supporting tour wrapped up, Lowery briefly concentrated on projects outside the band, producing such artists as Joan Osborne, Lauren Hoffman, Magnet, Fighting Gravity, and Sparklehorse (all at his Sound of Music recording studio in Richmond, VA), and co-producing the Counting Crows along with former Camper Van Beethoven producer Dennis Herring. Lowery also found the time to co-star in director Eric Drilling’s independent film River Red (also composing the film’s score) and appeared in another film, director Matt Leutwyler’s This Space Between Us.
By the end of the decade, Cracker seemed to have settled on a somewhat permanent lineup as drummer Frank Funaro and keyboardist/accordion player Kenny Margolis joined up with Lowery, Hickman, and Rupe, issuing 1998’s Gentleman’s Blues. During the early 21st century, Cracker continued to tour and even enlisted the help of several of Lowery’s former Camper Van Beethoven members on select dates (bassist Victor Krummenacher, guitarist/violinist Jonathan Segel, and guitarist Greg Lisher). They issued a live set in 2001, Traveling Apothecary Show & Revue, while a year later, Cracker issued their fifth studio album overall, Forever. The group has also been the subject of a pair of compilations over the years: 1994’s The Virgin Years (credited to Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker) and 2000’s double-disc Garage d’Or.
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