The Cadillac Three @ The Oobleck, Birmingham – Monday 8th December 2014


Review by Dean Pedley, photos by Jen Pedley

2014 has been a truly memorable year for Nashville’s The Cadillac Three. Not only have they scored a couple of big hits in their homeland with ‘The South’ and ‘Party Like You’ but their unique blend of hard rocking country fuzz has been embraced on this side of the Atlantic; something that was bought sharply into focus with the fully deserved triumph in Classic Rock magazine’s ‘Best Newcomer’ category. Further cementing their growing reputation, this short run of dates saw sold out shows in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three

TC3 offer a twist on the trio format by having Kelby Ray’s lap steel run via a hybrid set-up that utilises both a bass and guitar amp, the line-up completed by vocalist / guitarist Jaren Johnston and drummer Neil Mason. Wearing their hearts on their sleeves they launch into ‘I’m Southern’ and the small venue ignites. Johnston may be a much in demand songwriter on the American country music scene but he sure hasn’t given all of the good ones away. Songs about missing home (‘Tennessee Mojo’), blossoming summer romance (‘Back It Up’) and feel good rockers (‘Party Like You’, ‘I’m Rockin’) all hit the spot and he seems truly overwhelmed when the opening refrain of slow burner ‘White Lightning’ sees the crowd singing it right back at him.

The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three

Whilst the frontman is the only member stood on his feet there is still plenty of movement around the stage, Mason making regular forays from behind his kit to raise a bottle front and centre. A drum duet between the pair during ‘Days Of Gold’ utilises every part of the kit and when the metallic crunch of ‘Down To The River’ segues effortlessly into the riff of ‘Enter Sandman’ it offers further proof that this is a band equally at home on a bill topped by Metallica or Hank Williams Jr.

Encore ‘The South’ moves through slow deliberate verses to its huge chorus and is a modern day Southern rock anthem to be cherished. Undoubtedly one of the best live bands around right now, TC3 are as rich, refreshing and satisfying as the whiskey they swig from the stage.

Set List:-
1. I’m Southern
2. I’m Rockin’
3. Tennessee Mojo
4. Back It Up
5. White Lightning
6. Party Like You
7. Turn It On
8. Get Your Buzz On
9. Whiskey Soaked Redemption
10. Down To The River
11. Days Of Gold
12. The South