Country Fuzz, the latest LP from southern rocking trio The Cadillac Three proves that members Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason and Kelby Ray are more than capable of turning any given plain-Jane evening into a rip-roaring night of reckless abandon. The coolers, cups, bottles, trucks and smokes of southern life often star as the key elements to their amp-blasting efforts.
On the barn-burning “Hard Out Here for a Country Boy,” featuring ‘90s country great Travis Tritt, fellow country-rocker Chris Janson also joins in to sing “chugging that cold beer, loving that hot girl, living that slow life, in a real fast world.” It’s tough to imagine this hell-raising tune not being the theme song for the next Dixieland-flavored television reality show.
The album’s title is also something that fits well here. Thick grooves, blaring electric guitars, boot-stomping beats and swampy swagger drip from almost every song. In fact, Country Fuzz, might not be descriptive enough for the aggressive sonic qualities that make this album hurtle from the speakers.
Should you question whether or not this is the case, the band is here to quell your doubts as to whether or not they are up to the hard-partying task in most of the album’s songs, but especially all-guns-blazing cuts such as “All the Makings of a Saturday Night.” The song, quite literally, is one long list of, you guessed it, what one needs for a successful Saturday night party. Cold beer, pretty girl, JBLs, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Jim Beam black label, tall boys, spray tans, Silverados, Mountain Dew, Dierks, Luke Combs, and of course, “Janson” are but a few of the items on the Saturday night checklist.
Did someone say “checklist”? The Cadillac Three refuse to risk missing out on any party essentials in “Cracking Cold Ones With My Boys.” With the fiery guitar and massive beats behind him, Johnston sings, literally, “Ice, check” and “coolers, check” as he rattles off, yet another beach town Piggly Wiggly shopping list disguised as a party rock tune. The chugging, blues-inflected “Bar Around Here” recalls the 1986 Georgia Satellites classic “Keep Your Hands to Yourself,” while “Slow Rollin’” is a sludge-thick number featuring lyrics discussing a black El Camino, a cooler and a case of Coors Light. There’s some funky auto-tune stuff going on with Johnston’s already slow drawl to add to the song’s mood.
Over the course of 16 tracks, there are some songs that deviate from the lyrical list theme and the over-arching arena rock vibe. “Back Home” is a pleasant folksy, acoustic-driven tune, while the mid-tempo “Dirt Road Nights” is a pleasingly sentimental story song.
The songs work really well in the way the guys certainly intend them to. Any currently devoted fans of The Cadillac Three will rock this record with glee. This is a group that’s unapologetically hoping to rile you up, not wind you down, and to that end, they’re rather successful. There’s no doubt that parties everywhere, whether they’re held in parking lots, pastures, backyards or lake shores, would be wise to have pretty much all of Country Fuzz on their playlists.