Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee The Cadillac Three are perhaps an unlikely act to be enjoying success this side of the pond. The trio employ a sound that appeals to Southern rockers and country fans alike but historically this has proved a hard sell in the UK. For TC3 this has not been an issue as they’ve been incredibly well received and built an increasingly ardent following with a run of impressive festival slots and headline shows at increasingly larger venues. The release of new long-player ‘Bury Me In My Boots’ and a UK tour, that will include a show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, is confirmation that the guys are on a roll. The band are here to have a good time, turn the music up and crack open the Tennessee Whiskey which kinda helps and definitely works for me.
The TC3 story is far from one of overnight success as Jaren Johnston (lead vocals, guitar), Neil Mason (drums, percussion) and Kelby Ray (lap steel) first got together back in 2005 in a band called American Bang before forming The Cadillac Three (originally under The Cadillac Black moniker ) in 2011. Their first album followed in 2012 before the band signed with Big Machine for a reissue of the album in 2013.
The first single for the new album was released way back in late 2013 when TC3 hooked up with some heavyweight support in Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli for ‘The South’ a guitar heavy anthem, with a massive singalong hook, that emphasized their roots and invited us all along for the party. On a personal note ‘The South’ name checks Don Williams and ‘Tulsa Time’ which took me back to the music my parents played when I was growing up that has proved so influential all these years later. Needless to say ‘The South’ is one of many tracks on the album that prioritise the band’s love for their Southern USA roots with ‘Peace, Love & Dixie’ sounding exactly like the title tells you it should with a terrific opening riff and an unexpectedly crunching guitar part in the mid-section that works brilliantly.
Latest single ‘Drunk Like You’ finds TC3 with their feet firmly planted in the modern country dirt but manages the difficult job of still sounding just a little subversive which is always good. It’s a cracking track that should be all over radio and highlights the interaction between the guitar and lap steel which is very much the signature sound of the band. Looking for something to put a guaranteed smile on your face? Then look no further than the likes of ‘Soundtrack To A Six Pack’ and ‘Ship Faced’ which features the immortal “I’m getting sun burned and ship faced” line. While on ‘This Accent’ Johnston will put up with many things but he’ll not let anyone take his accent and manages to sound both 100% serious and amusing at the same time.
The quality of the tunes on the album is universally excellent which shouldn’t be a shock as Johnston and Mason have had tracks, individually or collectively, recorded by Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Frankie Ballard and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler to name but five. TC3 easily switch from the hard rockin’ guitar driven ‘Slide’ which mixes two perfectly healthy obsessions, baseball and sex to the more languid ‘White Lightning’ via the sweet, slow groove of ‘Buzzin’ with no let-up in quality.
‘Bury Me In My Boots’ may have been on the horizon for nearly three years but on arrival it’ll please old fans and make many new ones. The band’s image brings to mind 70’s Southern rock icons Lynyrd Skynyrd or the vastly underrated Doc Holliday and they back it up with the chops to rock it up or dial it back when required. They also have the songs and a willingness to push the envelope with their writing that makes for a really great listen that is best enjoyed loud with a cold one.