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The Cadillac Three - Legacy (Album Review)

Friday, 08 September 2017 Written by Simon Ramsay

If ever an album was perfectly titled it’s this third effort from the Cadillac Three. Although primarily referring to the band’s musical lineage and the mark they want to leave behind as people, it’s a surprisingly personal record that enriches their catalogue with the kind of depth and variety that builds true artistic legacies.

That’s not to say it is their best work. In fact, it may disappoint those who loved their debut’s raucous rock ‘n’ roll charm and the sprawling southern sounds of 2015’s exceptional ‘Bury Me In My Boots’. But in eschewing the chance to play it safe they’ve crafted a record that, like many an iconic act before them, posits the Cadillac Three as a group who move where their muse takes them regardless of how it will be perceived.

Self-produced and boasting an earthier aesthetic to its predecessor, ‘Legacy’ finds the Tennessee trio going full country on a collection of intimate, thoughtful songs. They duly showcase a growing confidence to explore emotions and styles the band often shied away from in the past.  

Hank and Jesus is about inheriting religion from their mother and the music of Hank Williams from their father, repackaging two of country music’s fundamental touchstones in a fresh composition given a tribal vitality by drumming that recalls the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil.  

Elsewhere, you can hear the kind of songs they used to give away to other artists because they didn’t feel ready to record them. Ain’t That Country is about the rough diamond qualities that inform the genre and its bittersweet reflectiveness would be perfect for Tim McGraw. The title track’s vulnerability, meanwhile, would make a great Kenny Chesney number. That the Cadillac Three can now perform these songs as well as those artists speaks volumes.

In contrast to the triumphalism of past anthems Party Like You and Soundtrack To A Six Pack, there’s something era-appropriate about the weathered conviction and resilient spirit of a song like American Slang that typifies this record’s maturity. It sounds like Graffiti’s older brother on a protest march, amping up the tempo with a communal resolve that feels like the perfect riposte to Donald Trump’s divisive presidency.

Although a different record to their previous two, there are still a few moments for old fans to chew over. Cadillacin’ is a hip-swinging groover in the vein of Peace, Love & Dixie, showcasing their musical smarts by slipping slo-mo disco into the second verse. Tennessee roars with howling delta slide and Dang If We Didn’t is a juke-joint hand clapper that sounds like Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achy Breaky Heart, if it had woken up stoned and been sung by Eric Church.

But, where ‘Bury Me In My Boots’ mixed many styles together and was superbly paced, the second half of this record drags due to a stream of slower songs. Take Me To The Bottom, Long Hair Don’t Care and Love Me Like Liquor are sterling tracks of love and devotion, but despite of being stylistically different their placement one after the next sees the energy drop and lessens their impact.

Led Zeppelin ‘III’, Bruce Springsteen’s ’Nebraska’, Metallica’s ‘Load’, Neil Young’s ‘Trans’: albums that defied expectations and, regardless of reception or calibre, were a crucial part of shaping the reputation and endearing influence of their legendary creators. ‘Legacy’ may be the least immediate and most polarising effort the Cadillac Three have made, but in time it could well become their equivalent of such brave, artistically driven and important recordings.

The Cadillac Three Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu November 09 2017 - BELFAST Mandela Hall
Fri November 10 2017 - DUBLIN Whelan's
Sun November 12 2017 - CARDIFF Cardiff Students' Union - Y Plas
Mon November 13 2017 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Tue November 14 2017 - LONDON O2 Forum Kentish Town
Wed November 15 2017 - NORWICH Norwich Nick Rayns LCR UEA
Fri November 17 2017 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Sat November 18 2017 - MANCHESTER Academy
Sun November 19 2017 - NEWCASTLE O2 Academy Newcastle
Mon November 20 2017 - GLASGOW O2 ABC

Click here to compare & buy The Cadillac Three Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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