Country-rock trio The Cadillac Three keep having to prove themselves in their own genre, leading this writer to believe, The Cadillac Three might be too country for country. The trio: Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray Caldwell, and Neil Mason, have just released their second album Bury Me in My Boots, an album that builds on the ambition of their self-titled debut.
So why does their sincerity keep getting questioned?
In a recent interview with Radio.com, frontman Jaren Johnston summed up their place in the country music scene:
“I got in a fight with a radio program director one day because he thought that we weren’t country; [he said] we were too rock for country or something like that.”
This is a common opinion surrounding the band and their unique brand of country rock. The best artists are those that don’t confine themselves to one genre – but instead of breaking away from their roots, The Cadillac Three have embraced them, while adding a few stylistic touches from other genres.
The band actually fits the country music mold to a ridiculous degree. All three grew up in Nashville, the home of the genre, and the name of their second album vividly recalls images of the Old West when a cowboy’s boots were worth a lot in the wilderness. Even Bury Me in My Boots’ breakout track is called “The South,” featuring lines like, “Where the beer seems colder and the women seem hotter / Where the world don’t seem so damn modern / Hell, this is where I’s born and this is where I’ll die.”
The album is a celebration of all things country, just look at the song titles: “The South,” “This Accent,” and “Runnin Red Lights,” are all tributes to the hometown they won’t be leaving anytime soon. It also featured backing vocals from the likes of Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and Eli Young Young frontman Mike Eli.
That’s not all there is to The Cadillac Three, after all, they have the reputation of Nashville’s best-kept secret. This is in part because of the other musical styles they put into their material. There’s heavy metal, punk, and straight up rock DNA running through this record. Of course, a little guitar feedback on your country song can make the natives restless. Whether they are country or not, it’s the need to experiment with their sound that will make The Cadillac Three an enduring band for years to come. Not being tied down to the genre that made them worked for Wilco, and Whiskeytown in the 90s, why can’t it work for Johnston and his crew in 2016?
The Cadillac Three are currently on the road opening for Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots Tour. After that wraps up this fall they’re off to Europe to further spread their unique and captivating sound.
Check out The Cadillac Three’s new album Bury Me in My Boots, and let us know what YOU think about them? Too country for Country?
You can follow Brad Johnson on Twitter @bjohnson2348.