The Cadillac Three returned to the Nashville club where they cut their teeth last night, performing a ferocious surprise show at the Basement, the rock & roll outpost beneath Grimey’s New & Preloved Music where Metallica famously played their own surprise pre-Bonnaroo gig in 2008. The Cadillac Three was clearly inspired by the thrash titans, plowing through an amps-to-11 set of live staples like “Tennessee Mojo” and “I’m Rockin'” — and tossing in a few bars of “Enter Sandman” for good measure.
But most importantly, the performance served to announce the Cadillac Three’s long-gestating new album, their first official full-length release for Big Machine Records. Titled Bury Me in My Boots, the LP, produced by the Cadillac Three with contributions from Dann Huff and Justin Niebank, will be released in August.
“It’s 14 songs of badass shit that we’re real proud of. We know it’s been a long time, but it comes out August 5th,” said singer-guitarist Jaren Johnston from the stage. Johnston and high-school friends Kelby Ray (lap steel) and Neil Mason (drums) make up the band.
Along with premiering the title track (watch at 12:45 in the video above), the Cadillac Three stormed through new album cuts “Graffiti” and “Soundtrack to a Six Pack,” and indulged a fan request for “Raise ‘Em Up,” the Number One hit Johnston co-wrote for Keith Urban. Johnston has made a name for himself on Music Row as a country-radio songwriter, and while special guests where rumored, none materialized (perhaps unwilling to get their hair wet in the pouring rain outside). “You know who did show up? The Cadillac Three,” exclaimed Johnston.
But the group — “three long-haired guys who walk and talk and act like brothers,” as Johnston often describes his bandmates — didn’t need any extra star power. As they’ve consistently done on stages throughout the U.K., where they’re bona fide rock heroes, the trio proved they’re champ entertainers. The Cadillac Three are currently opening for Florida Georgia Line, but after last night’s almost dangerous show, you couldn’t help but think they’re better suited to get in the ring on Guns N’ Roses’ summer tour.
“I got ice in my mouth,” said Johnston before launching into the defiant “Bury Me in My Boots,” unceremoniously dislodging some rogue cubes onto the Basement stage. “I’m like a damn boxer up here spitting out teeth.”