Album Review: The Cadillac Three - “Legacy”

Nashville's best-kept secret (and fantastic live band) is ready to break out on their brand new project featuring their "Dang If We Didn't" single.

It’s pretty ballsy to name your third record Legacy yet that’s exactly what The Cadillac Three (TC3) are doing with their third studio album. This album — collectively written by the trio of Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason and Kelby Ray Caldwell — finds the band doing what they do best and that is to present a fat, rock-n-roll based brand of country music and they’re a power trio of guitars, steel guitar and drums. That’s it. The fat sound in the record is all the band. In fact, they made this album on their own and they benefit from the DYI effort. All three band members are writers of huge radio hits and even though they’re quite popular as a touring act (even opening for Aerosmith at The Download Festival in the UK), they’ve yet to break out on national country radio and that, friends, is a shame.

Jaren Johnston is a unique vocalist and they show off some interesting swagger on the opening tracks “Cadillacin’” and “Tennessee,” the latter of which is a damn good swampy southern rocker. Perhaps one reason why TC3 has had a rough go about scoring a chart hit is that they don’t have the modern loops-y production. A real band, the trio nonetheless has a fantastic single from Legacy and it’s “Dang If We Didn’t,” a raw, real song about the aftermath of a raucous party. Another song that’s ready for radio airplay is “Ain’t That Country.” A mid-tempo song about real life emotions and situations. “American Slang,” a co-write with Lori McKenna has a massive percussive sing-a-long ready tune which too is radio ready, even if it has sharp, detailed lyrics. McKenna joins for some strong harmony vocals on “Love Me Like Liquor,” a song about a man who wants to be as loved by her as much as some folks love their liquor.

There are a handful of more mid-tempo or ballads on the record, including “Take Me To The Bottom,” the kind of song which discusses being drenched in the deep tumultuous waters of the Mississippi River like a deeper love. “Hank & Jesus” chronicles the differences between parents who help make us who we are while the closer and title track “Legacy” showcases the maturation of a band which have full adult lives of marriages and children. It’s a sweet love song and another potential big hit from the band, if mainstream radio gets off their collective asses and play this deserving band, a band with a strong Legacy being formed and one of the most-consistent albums of 2017.