The Cadillac Three enjoyed a breakthrough with their 2016 album Bury Me in My Boots, which spawned The South featuring Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley and Mike Eli, the band’s biggest single to date. The album was well received critically and performed moderately well commercially but it put the band in a rock and a hard place as the industry wasn’t entirely sure how to label them. Now most of us music lovers know that labels don’t really matter but it seemed that the band were a little too country for rock radio and a little too rock for country radio.
Recently The Cadillac Three – long-time friends Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason and Kelby Ray – released their third studio album Legacy and it’s evident that the band don’t care to be pigeon-holed in one genre. Legacy continues to explore the band’s rock/country hybrid and it’s their most cohesive album yet. The set opens with the swagger-filled Cadillacin’ which features big guitar riffs, a stomping beat and gritty vocals that allow frontman Johnston’s southern drawl to breathe. It’s a bold start to the album and I’m glad to see the band haven’t changed their sound in a bid to get radio play.
Cadillacin’ is followed by the equally bombastic Tennessee, a song about looking forward to reuniting with a lover after being on the road for weeks, and it would be easy to assume that Legacy is full of loud, rock-tinged tracks. Once you get to Hank & Jesus it becomes clear that The Cadillac Three are ready to showcase more sides to their abilities. Hank & Jesus is a quieter, more mid-tempo affair that pays tribute to the way that parents and outside influences shape your life as you grow up.
On Ain’t That Country, the band reflects on what country really means summing up that ‘that’s country, ahh it ain’t always pretty’. The track seems to be making a statement perhaps levelled at those detractor who argue the toss as to whether the band make country music or not. To my ears there’s a clear country influence across all of their music.
Elsewhere on the album Dang If We Didn’t is a raucous drinking song that deserves to be a huge hit, American Slang is an anthemic track that explores modern day America, and Long Hair Don’t Care is a playful carefree moment that is sure to become a favourite on the live circuit.
The standout moment on the album is the soulful Take Me to the Bottom. The track is very atmospheric and Johnston gets the chance to show off his falsetto. It’s a very different track for the band and it’s a stirring moment that sticks with you long after it finishes.
The album comes to the close with the title track, which is a surprisingly low-key acoustic moment. As the title suggests, the lyrics reflects on being remembered once you’re gone and Johnston sings about being loved as his legacy.
Legacy is a fine album and it shows more layers to The Cadillac Three than we’ve seen before. There are a variety of sounds on the album and there’s something for everyone. The collection flows better than Bury Me in My Boots did and there are some really great tracks among the 11 included here. Legacy is The Cadillac Three’s best album to date and it’s about time they got the recognition they deserve.
Track listing: 1. Cadillacin’ 2. Tennessee 3. Hank & Jesus 4. Dang If We Didn’t 5. Ain’t That Country 6. American Slang 7. Take Me To The Bottom 8. Long Hair Don’t Care 9. Love Me Like Liquor (feat Lori McKenna) 10. Demolition Man 11. Legacy Record Label: Big Machine Records Release Date: 25th August 2017