With more twang than a glass of your grandma's front porch lemonade and more rock than an Eddie Van Halen solo, The Cadillac Three has created its own brand of hyped up, nitty-gritty country music.
This band's hard-hitting, Southern rock riffs and country smothered lyrics, have rocked its Nashville hometown and beyond since 2005, and the group is planning to do the same here in Knoxville at Scruffy City Hall this Saturday.
With recent appearances on ABC's hit television show "Nashville," musical cameos on the CW's "The Vampire Diaries" and "Hart of Dixie," and a recent country single that is sure to climb the charts, The Cadillac Three has hit the country scene in a big way.
Apart from a band, The Cadillac Three is what they've always been – three high school best friends who write and sing songs together.
Jaren Johnston, lead vocals and guitar, Kelby Ray, dobro, acoustic guitar, and vocals, and Neil Mason, drums and vocals, have known each other since high school and have been playing together ever since.
Mason gave a little insight on what growing up in the middle of music city was like, musically, for him and the band.
"We were all born and raised here in Nashville, which, from what we hear, is pretty rare," Mason said in an interview with The Daily Beacon. "Growing up here, we were always around country music, whether we realized it or not. But like most kids, we kind of rebelled against country a little bit."
Though today their country roots run as deep as the Tennessee River, there was more than just one genre that made The Cadillac Three who it is today.
"We were growing up listening to Metallica, Tom Petty, Nirvana, Hank Jr. and Skynard," Mason said. "That southern rock influence in there with all that was probably a little more edgy than what country was in the 90s."
Such musical influences might seem overwhelmingly contrasting, but for these guys, it "fits like a boot, big tires to mud" as the song "I'm Southern" from their self-titled album explains.
But according to Mason, the band has had no trouble finding their soon to be iconic, country fuzz sound.
"When we get together and play, it just sounds like it sounds," Mason said. "The only way we know how to play together is for it to be this kind of riffy, country, back porch, kinda, foot-stompin', loud sound. We call it country fuzz just because we didn't know what else to call it."
Apart from the band's success as a whole, lead singer Jaren Johnston has written hit songs for Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen and Dierks Bentley, to name a few.
Songs such as Keith Urban's chart-topping hit "You Gonna Fly," Tim McGraw's "Southern Girl" and Jake Owen's "Days of Gold" have had much success on music row, with their country fuzz sound and off the beaten path vibe.
Whatever genre Johnston and The Cadillac Three claim, the group's unique sound got the attention of Scott Borchetta, head of the successful Nashville record label, Big Machine Records, who is also home to Taylor Swift and Tim Mcgraw among many others.
"Somewhere along the way, Scott Borchetta at Big Machine heard us, heard the record and really loved the record," Mason said. "So we weren't really looking to sign a deal or anything, we were enjoying going out and playing shows we were excited to be on like with Dierks Bentley and ZZ Top."
Since signing with Big Machine in 2013, the heart-stopping headlining names haven't ceased to bring The Cadillac Three along on their tours, which are soon to come in 2014. In a few weeks, they'll be touring Europe with Eric Church. A week after they get back, they will begin a tour with Jake Owen. Mason said "it's going to be a busy year" and that the band is "really excited."
The group's 2014 tours aren't the only things the band has to be excited about – The Cadillac Three recently released its debut single "The South."
"Our first single that we put out with (Big Machine), 'The South' – it's out now," Mason said. "That's a song that's very true to us and who we are. It has all the elements of things that we love and are about lyrically and musically."
Before the band's European tour with Eric Church begins, The Cadillac Three is playing at Knoxville's newest Market Square addition, Scruffy City Hall this Saturday at 10 p.m.
"We love Knoxville," Mason said. "Knoxville's always a good time, it's good people, and everybody's always out to party, so it always goes well with us."