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No matter what you call it, The Cadillac Three are really good

Paradise Rock Club, Boston, February 21, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

On the face of it, Kelby Ray's omnipotent pedal steel lines weaving in and out of The Cadillac Three's songs would make you willing to get the family farm the trio was a country music band.

In reality, that would be stretching the already hyper-elastic boundaries of what constitutes country these days. Yes, there was a country vibe from the Nashville-based band and certainly themes associated with country music (lots and lots of drinking in songs), but TC3 is pretty much your revved up rock band framed by the south with a tremendous amount of pedal steel that was lead guitar worthy.

The Cadillac Three are a well-oiled machine with the comfort level and rapport between lead singer Jaren Johnston, drummer Neil Mason and Ray obvious. Mason set one ultra-solid, vigorous drumbeat in song after song, often on the hard-edged side with him just pounding away. That was in keeping with the songs, which tended to gallop along with Johnston's guitar and the sinewy pedal steel lines guiding the way. "Slide" was a prime example.

Johnston, who has enjoyed much individual success as a country songwriter for the likes of Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen among others, has a chunk of charisma at his reserve with his likable style. He didn't need to rely on a lot of yapping to get the music across. His band mates also have an earnestness about them without overdoing it.

Bottom line, they're fun to watch.

The Cadillac Three ended with the one-two punch to close out the night out with "White Lightning" and "The South," an anthem celebrating life in the south and pretty much the band's calling card. No encore, but no need either.

One might question whether these guys are country, but there's doubt, they are really good no matter what you call it.

Ray Fulcher opened with a pleasing set that was less traditional than his recorded songs. Fulcher has a warm, rich voice and made the most of his time on stage. You may not have heard of Fulcher, but chances are, if you do listen to country radio, you have heard one of his songs, "When It Rains, It Pours," courtesy of Luke Combs.

Fulcher sang that as well and showed that you can be a songwriter and a singer. Some of the material boarded on the generic, but he left a positive impression.