The Cadillac Three released their third studio album, titled Legacy, today. Legacy is an evolution of the trio’s sound and message, and is a timely project in terms of where the band members are in their personal and professional lives. The trio, consisting of lead singer Jaren Johnston, drummer Neil Mason and lap-steel guitarist Kelby Ray, are all Music City natives. Their sound perfectly blends the best aspects of rock, blues and country, all built around Johnson’s unique, twangy vocals mixed with catchy hooks and killer guitar riffs. Their music continues to stay true to their southern roots and blue-collar ideology.
“We’re trying to build something and do it our way, which is always harder,” says Johnston. “If you’re going to leave something that people are actually going to remember, you can’t take the easy way. So we took all of our history, mixed it with the energy of The Cadillac Three and put it into a record that makes sense of where we’ve been and where we’re going.” The three co-produced the project and are the only instrumentalists playing on the album. Johnston wrote each of the 11 tracks on the new album, along with Mason and other top music city song writers including the incomparable Lori McKenna (“Humble and Kind” & “Girl Crush”).
Tracks such as “Dang If We Didn’t” and “Cadillacin'” stay true to the band’s well known sound, complete with anthemic, rowdy themes. “Tennessee” is a rocking song paying tribute to their beloved state and its authentic music (it even name drops one of their favorite artists, Sturgill Simpson: “Get out the vinyl, girl and put old Sturgill on.”)
Jaren Johnston explains the story of “Demolition Man” in a cut x cut video, saying simply, “It’s just about a dude trying to break down walls, trying to get to his girl.” Watch the video game-inspired visuals for the song below:
“American Slang” is both nostalgic and reflective, and was written by Johnson, Mason, and songwriting powerhouse, Lori McKenna. Johnston explains why it’s one of his favorite songs: “It’s definitely one of my favorite songs I’ve ever been a part of writing and the way it happened too was really cool, ’cause it wasn’t your standard ‘lets sit down and write a song.’ It was someone that we adore and respect, a songwriter sending us an idea that was so rad and us putting our world into it.”
Key lyrics: “We are vampires on Hollywood Boulevard / Angels and sinners in our hometown streets / An autobiography in a sleeve tattoo / Our broken hearts that still beat / We are the back roads, dirty water soul banks / From the city to the country doing our thing, our way / They say things that I was gonna say / Freedom of our age, we are born and raised on American Slang / Born and raised on American Slang, yeah.”
“Ain’t That Country” is an ode to the things that make up the country way of life, and the lyrics flow beautifully from verse to verse in this slow-tempo track: “He’s red, white and collar blue American, he’s me, he’s you, that’s country / Don’t got nothing against the city, just likes his roads dirt and gritty, yeah ain’t that country.” “Take Me to the Bottom” is captivating and completely draws you in – close your eyes, listen, and you’ll get lost in the psychedelic groove.
“Love Me Like Liquor” features Lori McKenna singing a falsetto harmony and is smart, seductive, and smooth. While one may think The Cadillac Three and Lori McKenna would be an unlikely vocal combination, they completely complement one another. Key lyrics: “Love me like liquor babe, mess me up / I need a 120 proof of your love, talkin’ knock down spinnin’, black out grinnin’ / Drown me, yeah drown me / I want to shoot you straight, no chaser / Feel you in the morning then a little later. Do it all again, empty bottles all around me. Love me like liquor.”
“Legacy,” the title track of the album, is emotionally moving and reflects on where the band is in life and what mark they will leave on this world. Listen to the story behind the song below:
The Nashville natives are currently touring and will headline the Ryman Auditorium for the very first time in their career on August 31st. For tour dates and more information on The Cadillac Three, visit their website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Download Legacy here.
Legacy Official Track Listing
1. “Cadillacin'” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason)
2. “Tennessee” (Jaren Johnston)
3. “Hank & Jesus” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Angelo Petraglia)
4. “Dang If We Didn’t” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Jonathan Singleton)
5. “Ain’t That Country” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, James Slater)
6. “American Slang” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Lori McKenna)
7. “Take Me to the Bottom” (Jaren Johnston)
8. “Long Hair Don’t Care” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Angelo Petraglia)
9. “Love Me Like Liquor” feat. Lori McKenna (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Lori McKenna)
10. “Demolition Man” (Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason, Angelo Petraglia)
11. “Legacy” (Jaren Johnston, Ben Burgess, Laura Veltz)