Classic Rock

the cadIllac three

Q&A with jaren johnston


The last time we saw The Cadillac Three they were tearing up the main stage at Ramblin’ Man Fair this summer, to the delight of masses of existing fans and a fair few new ones. In some ways it was pure Dixie-battered joy – Jaren Johnston’s broad Tennessee inflection, Kelby Ray’s lap-steel screams, all those lyrics about the south – but in another sense it was their nonpurist approach that really shone through. “It’s a very exciting time to be coming up in this, whatever this genre is,” Johnston says. “I love that.”

What’s the best thing that’s happened to TC3 in 2018?

We’ve played a lot of shows. The best thing is that we’ve gotten considerab­ly bigger without radio play in America, which has been really interestin­g to see cos that doesn’t happen very often in the country market. We’ve also grown our across-the-pond fan base as well. We did a lot of travelling for one year, so that’s a pretty intense year. It’s a lot of fun, fans are really excited.

You were born and raised in

Nashville, so you have a broader perspectiv­e than many on how the scene there has evolved. Do you think it’s changing for the better?

A lot of really cool stuff is happening in Nashville that you could call country or rock or whatever –- it’s getting so much blurrier, which is exciting for a band like us. I grew up loving genuine country music. If you think about Hank Williams Jr, when he used to play, it’s a rock show – it’s a badass crazy rock show. It’s exciting. And now you have people like Eric Church making great records and doing whatever he wants to do, and the radio’s playing it. And you have a band like the Wild Feathers, and Jason Isbell… It’s a very wide range of cool shit that’s happening.

The tense relationsh­ip between country fans and politics was brought to light this year. The reaction by many fans to Eric Church’s comments about the National Rifle Associatio­n seemed pretty extreme from the UK.

I know him very well. He’s one of those guys that speaks his mind and I respect that. I think a lot of times people just look for something to freak out over. I agree with everything he said in that article because it was well said.

What’s on the cards for the Cadillac Three in 2019?

The new record’s done, we’re gonna start playing some new music as soon as possible.

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Interview: Polly Glass
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