Live: The Cadillac Three

They’re southern. ’Nuff said.

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Three guys who sound like four or five.

A drummer who hardly sits down, a bass player who doesn’t stand up because he plays lap steel guitar as well, and a frontman, Jaren Johnston, who can sing like a crooner and thrash his guitar like a maniac. The Cadillac Three are no ordinary band.

As simple as ABC but as serious as a heart attack, they combine hard rock and country in a way that sounds both homespun and arena-friendly. Baseball caps that get screwed through 180 degrees for no obvious reason. Time signatures familiar from their bourbon-soaked Tennessee Mojo debut reinvented by a band as tight as a drum, but loose enough to stretch out because of telepathic bonding. Skynyrd meets AC/DC? Could be – Johnston combines a lazy southern drawl with a leering grin rarely seen since the passing of Bon Scott.

Simultaneously heavy and funky, they manage to party like it’s 1969 while sounding as here-and-now as they are in-your-face. Imagine vintage, Roger Bain-produced Budgie tackling bluegrass and you’re getting close. Hooks so deadly that guys young and old headbang, but sassy enough to get girls dancing – really.

They’ve written a bona fide classic in Get Your Buzz On – a song that namechecks both Skynyrd and the Rolling Stones, with a tune that either of those bands would be proud to call their own.

Cadillac Three: a good time guaranteed, every time.


Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.