Something peculiar happens every time the members of the Cadillac Three — singer-guitarist Jaren Johnston, lap-steel player Kelby Ray and drummer Neil Mason — walk onstage in Europe: The audience stands motionless, eyes wide and mouths agape.
"It's bizarre. They are so enamored with the idea of three long-haired guys who walk and talk and act like brothers, and with the idea that we're so far away from home," says Johnston. "The first two or three songs, they're just staring at you. Like, 'Wow, this is actually happening.' They don't ever hear people talk like us. It's like going to the circus for them."
But Johnston says the audience members know all of the redneck rockers' songs, from upcoming new single "White Lightning," off their forthcoming album, to the ACM Award-nominated "The South," with its "This is where I was born and this is where I'll die" war cry. "They love that because that's like their Braveheart moment; that's their William Wallace," says Johnston, who nonetheless admits it's surreal to hear a club full of English or Scottish accents sing the chorus to "The South." "'Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi…' they have no idea what they're singing about, but they love it. It's super cool."
The band shared exclusive photos, taken by Justin Nolan Key, from their March tour of England, Scotland and points in between with Rolling Stone Country, with Johnston offering his signature candid commentary.