Look for U.S.Backline Amps and Drums on the Budweiser stage this year for “Cadillac Three” and “Uncle Kracker”
His easy-going ability to take life as it comes has given Uncle Kracker a place in Country (with the Top 10 hit “Smile”), Pop (“Drift Away,” his Dobie Gray redux that featured Gray on vocals, set a Billboard record for most weeks at #1 on any chart, topping their Adult Contemporary chart for 28 weeks), Rock (“Follow Me,” from the double platinum Double Wide, was a Top 5 hit) and as a D.J./vocalist in rock/rap icon Kid Rock’s Twisted Brown Trucker Band. Then there was “When the Sun Goes Down,” the #1 Country hit that sat on top of the charts for 6 weeks with friend and sometimes tour mate Kenny Chesney plus the multi-format smash hit “All Summer Long” which he co-wrote with Kid Rock.
“There’s stuff to take serious,” he continues. “But it doesn’t make sense to give too much of a damn. Take it as it comes. It’s pretty simple. I’m trying to lift people’s spirits… Make’em feel good ‘cause everybody needs that.”
While The Cadillac Three might be a brand new band – a little over a year old as of this writing – native Nashvillians Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason and Kelby Ray have been friends and musical co-conspirators for as long as anyone can remember. They’ve weathered their wild teenage years and even wilder tours, weathered major label letdowns and major league triumphs, conquered Music Row – Johnston co-wrote Keith Urban’s #1 single “You Gonna Fly” – and crashed on the couches of strangers in far flung cities. These boys have seen more ups and downs than a Smoky Mountain tour guide.
It’s a sound that works as well in front of an amphitheater full of ZZ Top fans or the Dierks Bentley crowd as well as it does in the dive bars and dark corners of the underground music. Though, truth be told, the Cadillac Three’s sound probably works best blaring out of your car speakers as you fly down the highway, wind blowing through your hair on the way to another wild Saturday night.
Built around Masons thundering, melodic percussion and the sinewy intertwining of Johnston’s guitar with Ray’s lap steel, songs like “I’m Southern”, “Days of Gold” and “Whiskey Soaked Redemption” on their self-produced debut bristle with energy and explode at a moments notice. Tracks like “Down to the River”, “Get Your Buzz On” and “Back It Up” evoke the legends of Southern Rock – your Molly Hatchets, your Outlaws, your Ozark Mountain Daredevils – but they aren’t nostalgic, aren’t fetishistic reconstructions of by-gone eras. This the new sound of the New South, bigger and badder than ever.