The light scent of incense filled the air at Irving Plaza, a New York City venue, on Friday night. Skulls and roses covered the stage as southern rock band The Cadillac Three played a 90-minute set filled with songs off of their two albums, as well as songs they’ve written for other artists. To kick off the night of rock ‘n’ roll blended with country, the ominous opening to Aubrie Sellers’ album New City Blues played as Sellers and her band took the stage, wearing all black.
Her band has all the makings of a traditional country act – slide guitar and a mean harmonica player included – but her unique representation of the genre, blending country grit with blues and rock ‘n’ roll, brings “garage country” to life. During her opening set Sellers sang “Light of Day,” “Magazines,” and the sarcastic “Liar Liar.” She also added an electrifying cover of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” as well as the 1970s Emmylou Harris track “Luxury Liner,” which she described as the story of her life before serenading the packed room. Over the past year playing over 200 shows, Sellers has perfected her stage presence, singing her songs confidently and without doubt gaining a ton of new fans. Closing out her run with The Black Roses tour, Sellers took time before her final song to thank The Cadillac Three for the experience.
Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray, and Neil Mason, who comprise The Cadillac Three, took the stage at Irving Plaza just a little after 9 PM, opening their set with the title track to their most recent album, Bury Me in My Boots. Throughout the night, one could look around the packed room and see lighters in the air, beer cans being tipped back, and fans singing along. The trio played “Soundtrack to a Six Pack,” “Graffiti,” and crowd favorite, “I’m Southern,” which began a venue-wide boot stomp amongst the crowd.
“Y’all are making us three very happy rednecks up here,” Johnston laughed, before explaining that after playing so many festivals and opening for Florida Georgia Line last year, they were happy to be headlining. At one point, a fan threw a baby onesie on stage for Johnston’s future child due in April; he quickly commented, “It used to be panties, now it’s onesies – going downhill real quick.” He laughed before thanking them for the gift: “My little guy is definitely going to come out with a mohawk and a Gibson in his hand.”
Don’t let the long hair and drinking lyrics fool you: the trio also puts a great spin on love songs. “My wife obviously can’t be here because she is eight months pregnant but she is so beautiful, she is so damn beautiful,” Johnston says – so sincerely you can feel his devotion – before singing a song he wrote specifically for her, “Running Red Lights.” While southern rock jams are their signature, the trio are songwriters at heart, penning tunes for some of the country genre’s top artists. Friday’s set included a medley of the songs they have had cut by other artists, including Frankie Ballard’s “Sunshine and Whiskey,” Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s duet “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” and Jake Owen’s “American Country Love Song.” Performing the Keith Urban and Eric Church smash “Raise Em Up,” they treated fans to a slowed down, slide-guitar-heavy version. The first notes of “White Lightning” always have an electric effect on their crowds, and Friday night was no different, with the audience singing along to every word. Leaving a lasting impression on NYC, The Cadillac Three continue their The Black Roses Tour in Atlanta this week.
Catch The Black Roses Tour at one of these upcoming shows:
- February 22 – Atlanta @ Variety Playhouse
- February 23 – New Orleans @ House of Blues
- February 24 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
- February 25 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
- March 1 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
- March 2 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
- March 3 – Denver @ Summit Music Hall
- March 4 – Salt Lake City @ The Depot
- March 5 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
- March 8 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
- March 9 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
- March 10 – Seattle @ Showbox SoDo
- March 12 – San Francisco @ Regency Ballroom
- March 16 – San Diego @ House of Blues
- March 17- Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades