The Cadillac Three are known for their brand of rowdy, kiss-my-ass country-rock, especially on the concert stage. But for their new single “White Lightning,” the trio of Nashville natives tone down the bravado, allowing honest, vulnerable emotion to distinguish a song that may very well become their first radio hit. Written by singer-guitarist Jaren Johnston for his wife Evyn, the ballad excels because of its personal nature.
For the video, director David McClister played up that aspect, inserting snapshots of the couple from early in their relationship and casting not some nameless actress, but Evyn herself as Johnston’s costar. And the band performance shots are as laid bare as the “White Lightning” lyrics, with steel player Kelby Ray and drummer Neil Mason backing up Johnston in an abandoned, no-frills warehouse.
“I sat down and wrote a real song, kind of on accident, drinking too much wine, trying to talk about my wife. Everybody wants to feel that, have that feeling, where it happens so fast. It’s the old saying of love at first sight,” Johnston told Rolling Stone Country. “These days, it’s so easy to fake it. And kids see through that. This song is very real and from the heart.”
The band premiered the “White Lightning” video for media and fans earlier this week inside the planetarium of Nashville’s Adventure Science Center, as simulated lightning crashed throughout the theater. Afterward, the group performed a stripped-down set of songs, including the fan anthem “The South,” “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” which Johnston wrote for Tim McGraw, and their new single.
The Cadillac Three were a highlight of last weekend’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville. They’ll perform tonight in New Berlin, Illinois, before slowly making their way to New York City for the inaugural Farmborough Festival.