Album Review: The Cadillac Three’s ‘Legacy’

The Cadillac Three are known for their energetic live show and while their new album Legacy showcases the high intensity songs the band plays in concert, it also hints at a softer side to the Nashville natives. The 11-track album was all co-written and produced by TC3 and has childhood friends Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray and Neil Mason teaming up for a bold release that includes just as much hell raising as it does sentimental ballads.

Legacy launches with plenty of swagger on “Cadillacin’.” Penned by frontman Johnston and drummer Mason, the song oozes with fun as the guys sing of cruising through town in a Cadillac complete with “fuzzy dice on the mirror” and a “cooler in the back full of beer.” The grooving guitar, soaring lap steel and striking percussion showcase the band’s talent for writing catchy music that the listener immediately latches onto.

The bass heavy “Tennessee” follows suit and has Johnston begging his girl to get out the whiskey and the vinyl for a night together after a long two weeks away on the road. “Get out the vinyl, girl, and put old Sturgill on / Go on, turn it up loud / I need to feel, need to hold, need to hear somethin’ real tonight /Like sweet southern sounds,” Johnston croons. With gritty guitar interludes and heart pounding rhythms, it’s the perfect song to showcase in the live setting.

The Cadillac Three; Cover Art Courtesy of Big Machine Records

The Cadillac Three; Cover Art Courtesy of Big Machine Records

Meanwhile, current single “Dang If We Didn’t” continues to demonstrate the band’s staying power with feel-good melodies and a hazy tale of getting drunk the night before. Later, “American Slang” continues the high energy with handclapped rhythms and foot stomping beats. Co-written by Johnston, Mason and Lori McKenna (“Humble and Kind,” “Girl Crush,”) the anthemic song takes the trio to a new level.

Well known for their blend of country, rock & roll and Southern rock influences, the Cadillac Three also share their romantic side with listeners on Legacy. From the more sentimental “Hank and Jesus” where Johnston sings of how he needs to “Thank Daddy for Hank, thank Mama for Jesus / Between the vinyl and the Bible / It was everything I ever needed,” to appreciating their country roots in “Ain’t That Country,” a softer image is showcased. It is on the striking title track, though, that portrays the band’s evolution from heavy rockers to gentle husbands and fathers.

“When I’m gone, my name carved in stone / And that dash between the years is all I left here / It won’t be songs or stages I sang on / Girl, as hall of fame as I wanna be / A lifetime of you lovin’ me / Hell, that’s a legacy,” Johnston sings on “Legacy.”

Penned by Johnston, Ben Burgess and Laura Veltz, the co-writers originally thought about pitching “Legacy” to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill or Eric Church until bandmate Mason heard it at a writers round in Nashville. The song immediately struck a chord and he suggested the trio cut it after his sister started crying when she listened to it. It’s this sweet ballad that leaves a lasting mark on the listener and showcases a more mature sound for the band. With songs this good, the evolution of The Cadillac Three continues to impress and has us excited for what comes next.