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The Cadillac Three

Legacy – 2017 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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The Cadillac Three's bio is stacked with amazing bullet points that partially explains their mutant rockabilly-heavy-on-the-rock cocktail. The born-and-raised Nashville trio - drummer/vocalist Neil Mason, bassist/dobroist/vocalist Kelby Ray Caldwell and guitarist/lead vocalist Jaren Johnston - have extensive indie-rock-and-beyond resumes, including their previous incarnation as Bang Bang Bang which morphed into the sadly overlooked American Bang. Johnston, Caldwell and Mason remained together after American Bang's dissolution, and formed the Cadillac Black, releasing their debut album in 2012, but they quickly redubbed themselves the Cadillac Three and their first order of business after signing with Big Machine was reissuing their first album under their new moniker. TC3's first few singles, including big hit "The South," featuring vocals from Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line, were included on their acclaimed sophomore album, 2016's "Bury Me in My Boots."

For their third album, "Legacy," TC3 follows their established path of cross-pollinating hard charging rock with the indelible country authenticity that comes with their Nashville birth certificates. "Legacy" opens with the one-two punch of the self-referential "Cadillacin'," a full throttle boogie anthem that should be the country song of the summer, blasting from every open car window, and the trio's slide-and-rhythm-section-thunder of "Tennessee," a blazing tribute to their home state. "Hank & Jesus" finds the band simultaneously channeling traditional country and the Allman Brothers and "Dang If We Didn't" and "Love Me Like Liquor" are prototypical genre drinking songs with the unique TC3 twist. The real revelation is "American Slang," where the band's lyrical gifts, assisted here by Grammy-winner Lori McKenna ("Lyrics on a Coca Cola Classic can, promises whispered in the dark...I love you in a dead language"), are perfectly complemented by an atmospheric and propulsive soundtrack. Three stellar albums in five years are solid evidence that the Cadillac Three deserve the same reputation as their namesake automobile.