Sherman Theater Presents
The Cadillac Three
Black Stone Cherry
Fri · September 14, 2018
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmSherman Theater
$20 advance | $23 day of show
All Ages Admitted // 21 to drink with ID
TICKETS GO ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ON FRI. JUL 27
At the request of the Artist, this is a Standing GA Show
Reserved Balcony seating available for Members only
For membership information, please contact the venue
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SKYBOX: member $495.00 | non-member $575.00 CLICK FOR MORE INFO
the shared history to lay claim to such a weighty title, it's the longhaired trio of Nashville natives.
Singer-guitarist Jaren Johnston, drummer Neil Mason and lap-steel player Kelby Ray have known one another
since they were teens and have been sharing stages together for nearly 15 years. This summer, they'll headline
their hometown's most famous venue, the Ryman Auditorium, just a few blocks from where Johnston and Ray
sat in high-school math class daydreaming about one day playing the legendary hall. Johnston's connection to
the Ryman goes back even further: his father has been a drummer at the Grand Ole Opry since Jaren was a
child. And now he has a son of his own, who, like his old man, will be well-versed in all the sounds that make up
both Music City and The Cadillac Three, from country and blues to rock & roll.
So, yeah, "legacy" looks good on this band.
"We're trying to build something and do it our way, which is always harder," says Johnston. "If you're going to
leave something that people are actually going to remember, you can't take the easy way. So we took all of our
history, mixed it with the energy of The Cadillac Three and put it into a record that makes sense of where we've
been and where we're going."
After nearly a full year on the road in support of 2016's BURY ME IN MY BOOTS, their first full-length album
recorded for Big Machine Records, the group returns with a more mature perspective. Johnston, Mason and Ray
have experienced a lot on tour, whether opening arenas across the country on Florida Georgia Line's Dig Your
Roots Tour or headlining their own consistently sold-out string of sweaty club and theater shows in the U.K. and
Europe. As they prepare to head back in November for another big run, for The Cadillac Three, the old saying
really is true: this band is huge overseas.
"Europe showed us that we should bet on ourselves. It was a big gamble the first time we went over there," says
Mason, "but the shows and the fans have continued to grow."
"And going overseas reinforced that we wanted to get more music out more quickly," adds Ray. "They go through
singles really quickly over there. They want more, more, more and that encouraged us to go into the studio,
knock this album out and keep going."
All that travel, from city to state, country to continent, could decimate a lesser band, but it only served to
creatively inspire the mighty TC3. They wrote many of the 11 songs that make up LEGACY on the road, cut the
tracks on rare days off in Nashville and then recorded all of Johnston's vocals – one of the most "country" voices
in the genre – in the back lounge of their bus in between shows, adding a crackling sense of vitality to LEGACY.
They also produced the album themselves.
"We knew what we wanted to do with this record. Instead of putting it together in bits and pieces, we started with
a batch of songs and then picked a single," Johnston says. "That's how this shit should be done."
That back-to-basics approach to making music yielded the band's most infectious single to date: the woozy sing-
along "Dang If We Didn't." Written, as is most of the album, by Johnston and Mason (here, with Jonathan
Singleton; other times with songwriters like Laura Veltz and Angelo Petraglia), "Dang If We Didn't" teases fans
with its ambiguous title, before revealing what the guys actually did in the chorus: get drunk last night.
"When you're a songwriter, you can be critical of song titles," says Johnston. "But with 'Dang If We Didn't,' I
thought it was a little bit mysterious. It makes you wonder, 'Dang if we didn't do what?'"
"Eat pizza last night," quips Mason. "It could be anything."
"American Slang" rivals "Dang If We Didn't" in its grandeur. It's a huge song, akin to Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" or
The Cadillac Three's own "Graffiti," off BURY ME IN MY BOOTS. Lori McKenna (Little Big Town's "Girl Crush")
began writing the tune with the intention of having The Cadillac Three finish it. "We are vampires on Hollywood
Boulevard / angels and sinners of our hometown streets," go the lyrics, painting a picture of life's rebels, before a
massive country-radio chorus kicks in: "We are the back roads, dirty water shore banks...we are born and raised
on American slang."
The constant throughout LEGACY, however, lies in the players: as on all three of The Cadillac Three's albums,
only Johnston, Mason and Ray are the musicians. There's no guest keyboard player, no second percussionist
and certainly no bassist. Ray holds down the low end on his lap steel.
Especially on the standout LEGACY track "Take Me to the Bottom," which features Johnston reaching high for a
breathtaking falsetto. "'Take Me to the Bottom' has the best bass sound of anything I've ever done," says Ray,
who also keeps things greasy on the intense "Tennessee." A thrashing love song, it evokes the stomp of ZZ Top
– a favorite of TC3 – and features a lyrical shout-out to progressive country hero Sturgill Simpson, a kindred spirit
of the band.
No matter the influence, though, the trio stays faithful to their own unique sound throughout LEGACY. "Hank &
Jesus" glides along with Tennessee twang; "Demolition Man" is distinguished by the space between the notes;
and the swaggering "Cadillacin'" is a band anthem. "We don't put anything on our albums that we can't re-create
live," says Mason. "If there is a TC3 rule, it's that: keep it honest."
Honesty, or authenticity, is a favorite buzzword around Nashville. But few artists come to it as naturally as The
Cadillac Three. These guys couldn't fake it if they tried. In the album's title track, they offer a heart-on-the-sleeve
testimony to what's really important at the end of one's days: love and a family tree.
When Mason and Ray heard "Legacy," co-written by Johnston, they flipped, and pushed for it to be the title of the
record. "We're far enough along in our careers where doing an album called LEGACY doesn't feel presumptuous
to me," says Mason.
Not when you run through The Cadillac Three's milestones. It's all there, from boundary-pushing albums,
Grammy-nominated No. 1 songwriting across genres and fan-favorite singles to sold-out club shows and massive
festival gigs alongside Aerosmith.
"With this album, we're continuing to build this thing we've created. We're touring nonstop, headlining shows in
the U.K., playing the Ryman, and putting out a new record," says Johnston. "Shit, that's a pretty good legacy so
"We caught divine intervention with this one," guitarist Ben Wells says with a good chuckle. "We hit a creative spark and tapped into a spirit and a fire we hadn't before." Drummer John Fred Young adds: "Family Tree showcases all of our collective musical influences and how we have taken those to create something that is truly our own unique Southern American Rock ‘N Roll Sound."
For 17 years, Black Stone Cherry has put forth a new vicious breed of Southern rock, injecting youthful vitality and a myriad of fresh new influences into the beloved American rock tradition. To date, the band has released five critically acclaimed albums, and one well-received blues EP. Black Stone Cherry has also rocked 12,000-cap arena shows, topped the UK charts, and shared the stage with a diverse roster of superstars, including Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Motörhead, and ZZ Top.
Black Stone Cherry came together in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky, eventually coalescing around the lineup of Chris Robertson, vocals and guitar; Ben Wells, guitar and vocals; Jon Lawhon, bass and vocals; and John Fred Young, drums. Young's dad Richard, and his Uncle Fred, are two members of the iconic country-fried rock n' roots band The Kentucky HeadHunters, and the high school-aged boys came up honing their craft in the group's Practice House, a 1940s bungalow.
"We grew up in the Kentucky Headhunters' rehearsal space, looking up at posters of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, the Stones, Montrose, and the Faces. We were like kids someone took in a time capsule and put in the woods," says drummer John Fred Young.
Like the band's previous album and EP, Black Stone Cherry opted to self-produce and track Family Tree at David Barrick's Barrick Recording, the same studio where BSC recorded its self-titled debut and Kentucky albums . BSC also opted to not over-rehearse in advance of the album, instead preferring the immediacy and spontaneity of in the-moment takes. "There was a lot of laughter in the studio this time, and an air of comfort because we had self-produced the last few releases. It helped us get down to the nitty gritty bones of our music," says bassist Jon Lawhon. The band also entrusted guitarist and vocalist Chris Robertson to mix the album. This homespun approach perfectly suited the loose but epiphanic creative sessions that birthed Family Tree.
Family Tree boasts BSC's tried-and-true lucky number with its 13 songs, and, like all BSC releases, features songwriting contributions from each member. The result is a modern and meaty blues-based rock album, with unexpected sonic twists like punchy horn sections, barrelhouse pianos, Southern gospel organ, atmospheric synthesizer passages, and forays into funk and country.
Two special guests bring Family Tree full circle, one being Chris' 5 year-old son singing backup on the brawny swaggering "You Got The Blues," and the other being jam band icon Warren Haynes' vocal and guitar cameo on the delta stomp of "Dancing In The Rain." The band first met Warren 17 years ago when they first came to New York to showcase for their new label. "I remember coming to New York when we first were signed, and hearing Warren's voice behind me the minute my feet hit the street," recalls bassist Jon Lawhon. "Hearing him play on this track all these years later gave me chills."
Having Warren guest on the album was a wonderful gesture of "you're in the family now." It was truly a validation of all the miles the band has clocked on tour, and the dues the guys have paid being away from home. "It's amazing to me how four good old boys from nowhere Kentucky can still be around 17 years later," singer/guitarist Chris Robertson says. Ben Wells concludes: "I don't remember how life was outside of Black Stone Cherry. The four of us are family."
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