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The Cadillac Three: We could still become the biggest band in the world

They’ve come a long way since winning the Best New Band at the 2014 Classic Rock Awards. With a third album out, The Cadillac Three are here to take southern rock’s crown

It's Night One, and Kelby Ray, the man with a personality even bigger than his hair and the lap steel-weilding third of The Cadillac Three, is off the leash. He leans in conspiratorially and whispers: “I think I might be going ‘Night One’… It can get pretty messy. You might wanna ask the guys about this…”

It’s a stifling Wednesday in mid-July and The Cadillac Three (and their Classic Rock interloper) convened earlier tonight at the Red Door Saloon in their home town of Nashville. It’s one of those great spit ’n’ sawdust places, loud music, country and rock alternately blaring from the jukebox and the beer is ice cold. It’s full of musicians talking about music and songwriting circles and publishing deals. It couldn’t really be much more Nashville if it tried. And it’s exactly the sort of place that you imagine The Cadillac Three should be hanging out.

The band are poised to release their third album, Legacy, in a couple of weeks and are off out on the road for a few days to play a massive country music festival in Ohio and have invited Classic Rock along for the ride. Which is why you find us on the bus, with Ray on the brink of going Night One. Which, in a nutshell, is drinking. A lot. And subsequenly going a little crazy. It usually happens on the first night on the road (hence the moniker); it’s the initial taste of freedom, the open road and the promise of rock’n’roll ahead.

And that’s exactly what The Cadillac Three are all about. One listen to any of their records to date and there’s plenty of proof that their primary sources of joy are boozing, enjoying the good times in life and simply celebrating being from the south. Let’s be honest, it’s a template that’s served many a band well.

“All our records have been about our life experience,” says frontman Jaren Johnston, popping open the first of many beers. “If you look at the first record [2012’s _The Cadillac Three_] it’s all about drinking and fighting and me just trying to find something. When we started this band, writing-wise the thing that made everything glue together was where we’re from, what we’re proud of, how we were raised and what we were listening to when we grew up. So we did that.

From the archive

From the archive

From the archive


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