The Cadillac Three

Doc Roc Presents

The Cadillac Three

Hailey Whitters

Thu Sep 07

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:15 pm

Cain's Ballroom

Tulsa, OK

$15.00 - $17.00

This event is all ages


Advance $15
Day of Show $17
Door $17
Mezzanine (21+) $30


There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office.

No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds!

Support acts are subject to change without notice!

The Cadillac Three
The Cadillac Three
"This is where I was born and this is where I'll die."

With that passionate battle cry, the centerpiece lyric of their anthem "The South," The Cadillac Three have launched a movement in country music, forging a bond with fans both in the U.S. and overseas in a way not seen since Garth Brooks. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, the trio of singer-guitarist Jaren Johnston, lap-steel player Kelby Ray and drummer Neil Mason are brothers in "hell yeah!" spirit and in music. They are
effortlessly cool, as real as they come and arguably the most vital addition to the country-music landscape this decade.

The proof lies in both their hard-rocking live shows and their blistering new album Bury Me in My Boots, their first recorded for Big Machine Records. Onstage, the group possesses a sonic power that other touring bands couldn't match with double the players. Johnston sings and shreds with a room-filling "kiss my ass" attitude, Ray delivers slippery riffs and a phantom bass line on his steel, and Mason pulverizes the kit with the force of
Zeppelin's John Bonham. Remarkably, they've harnessed that same crackling energy on Bury Me in My Boots, a collection of 14 songs that were hatched the old-fashioned way: written on the road and tested live in front of an audience.

"I've never seen any other band in Nashville say, 'Yeah, man, we like to try out a song live for a long time just to make sure it goes over well, before we put it on a record,'" says Johnston. "Most Nashville bands, they get a demo, they like it, they cut it, and it's on the record and sometimes the radio the next week."

Produced by The Cadillac Three with Dann Huff and Justin Niebank, Bury Me in My Boots is the follow-up to their self-titled 2012 independent debut, which Big Machine re-released after signing the band. But there's more than just years separating the projects.

"We drove thousands of miles in a van and a bus between these two records. We played hundreds of shows in the past five years and have been through so much," says Ray.

Indeed, The Cadillac Three have toured relentlessly in the U.K., where they've garnered a rabid fan base, opened U.S. tours for Eric Church and Dierks Bentley, and are currently on the road with Florida Georgia Line.

"We're still writing songs about where we're from because it's our favorite place in the damn world," says Mason, "but at the same time, we have all these other experiences to draw on. We've been all around the world. This record is everything that has happened since."

The constant, however, is authenticity. More than any other act in country music today, The Cadillac Three paint the sharpest picture of small-town life — all three members have a hand in writing the songs on Bury Me in My Boots.

Led by Johnston, who has penned monster hits like Tim McGraw's "Meanwhile Back at Mama's," Jake Owen's "Beachin'" and Keith Urban's "Raise 'Em Up," the trio compose in an organic and spontaneous way.

"It's like in the movie Almost Famous. We're riding on the bus, somebody's got a guitar, somebody's drinking a beer. That's the idea," says Johnston. "And we all have one goal in mind: making an album that is better than the first one."

While that debut record broke ground for the group with its rebellious swamp-rock vibe, Bury Me in My Boots finds The Cadillac Three writing, recording and performing at a more assured, bolder level. It is the sound of a band fully aware of its power, one ready to decimate arenas.

In the stomping title track, they flip the popular carpe-diem theme on its head, looking not at how the guys live life, but how they hope to exit it — in their boots, the very ones that grace the album's cover.

"Lyrically, it goes to a place that can be sad and dark. This guy is talking about the pine-box clock," says Johnston. "But he says, 'If I'm going down, I want to go down in style!'"

It's the type of bravado at which the band excels, whether they're singing about coming face-to-face with the Reaper, or a hot girl at the bar. The single "Drunk Like You," the "Black Betty" homage "Slide" and the woozy "Buzzin'" all resonate with a certain swagger, while the beachy get-wasted jam "Ship Faced" is laugh-out-loud funny.

"All of those are examples of us growing and expanding our sound," says Johnston.

But despite a tough exterior, The Cadillac Three maintain a country boy's heart. The ballads "White Lightning," written by Johnston for his wife, and the album closer "Runnin' Red Lights" both reveal a vulnerability, as Johnston sings about the loneliness and longing that come with being a band on the run.

"You're out there doing meet-and-greets, shaking hands and kissing babies," he says, "but at the same time, you're thinking about where you wanna be. And that's trying to get home as fast as you can."

For The Cadillac Three, home remains the American South that they praise in their signature song. To hear Johnston lead the call-and-response chorus of "The South" — which he's done everywhere from honky-tonks to cruise ships — is to experience the essence of the artist-fan connection. The song has become a credo for band and audience, a commitment to honoring your roots, be they in Nashville or Atlanta, New York or Boston.

"Our show is based around who we are and where we're from," says Mason, "and that song really encompasses that."

As does the surprisingly elegant and poignant "This Accent," an epilogue to "The South." Written by Johnston and Mason with frequent collaborator Jimmy Robbins, "This Accent" is the emotional center of Bury Me in My Boots. It all comes back to the idea of being "real," that most coveted buzzword in country music. While some country-radio stars sing with a thick drawl, only to speak in interviews as if they're Connecticut blue bloods,
Johnston, Ray and Mason walk it, as the saying goes, like they talk it.

"You can take a lot of things from a man / leave him beat, brokenhearted and bent / but you ain't never gonna take this accent," Johnston delivers, defiantly.

And therein lies the magic of The Cadillac Three, the secret that all but guarantees them mega-success: their willingness to not only embrace but celebrate the traits and quirks that define them. Whether it's the way they talk, where they live or how many beers they drank the night before, they are unapologetically themselves.

"The Cadillac Three are a force," drawls Johnston. "We are three dudes who grew up together, ready to take on the world. And we don't give a shit. Kids everywhere can see the realness in that."
Hailey Whitters
Hailey Whitters
Hailey Whitters has an endearing habit of suggesting she’s perennially late to the party. “I’ve always just felt like a late bloomer,” she says, with a sigh that turns into a laugh.

With the release of her debut album Black Sheep (October 2, 2015 via Carnival Music), Whitters proves she was well worth the wait. Produced by ace session guitarist Derek Wells, Black Sheep is a soulful collection that turns sad stories into bold celebrations of people society often shames, layered over honky tonk and rootsy rock.

“It’s been really therapeutic for me to put it out,” Whitters says of the album. “Just being able to know what I want to say and get that out to people has been cool on my end.”

Whitters grew up in Shueyville, Iowa, population just shy of 600. “It’s such a little town. It’s getting bigger, but we don’t even have a post office,” she says. “We have two bars, a wine cellar, and a church.”

The oldest of six children born to a large Catholic family, Whitters grew up a determined but unexpected artist, drawn to songs and singers but unsure why. “I didn’t grow up in a super musical family,” she says. “I just had a weird inkling to do music.” The Dixie Chicks, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, and other women who drove 90s country radio were her gateway heroines, which led to a deep dive into classic country, and ultimately, Americana storytellers such as Patty Griffin, John Prine, and Gillian Welch.

“I took my first trip to Nashville when I was 16 and fell in love,” Whitters says. “I immediately knew I wanted to move here.” A year later, she did. She also enrolled in college, and paid her proverbial dues as a nanny, waitress, and salon receptionist before signing with left-of-center lighthouse Carnival Music in 2012.

“When I was younger, I just mimicked people that I admired,” Whitters says. “I learned how to tell a story.” With an arresting voice effortlessly rooted in honky tonk’s long tradition of angelic sopranos who are equally comfortable mourning and raising hell, she has spent the last several years discovering that she has something of her own to say––along with a unique way to say it.

Whitters often writes and sings songs that detail the search for acceptance––of self or of others––sometimes dreamily, other times with rollicking irreverence. Features in No Depression and The Bluegrass Situation, a Daytrotter Session, several nods on 2016 artists-to-watch lists, and other praise have introduced her to a larger audience, who has responded with open arms. “I love to hear from people about how one of my songs has touched them. It just makes me feel like I’m doing something bigger than myself,” she says.

Black Sheep’s title track, written with the Wrights’ Adam Wright, moodily canvasses the rewards and frustrations of sticking out, and ultimately offers a defiant resolution keep going her own way. “I feel that way a lot, especially in this town,” she says. “To do what nobody’s doing…it’s kind of cool, fuel for the fire. It’s invigorating to be different.”

The guitar-soaked stroll “Late Bloomer” is an autobiographical ode to lollygagging in a variety of situations. “I was the oldest of six, so I was very naïve, I felt like,” she says. “But I finally came to accept that it’s actually okay to figure out who you are and what you want later in life.”

Whitters penned live-show standout “One More Hell” alone after her little brother was killed in a car accident. “He was 19. It was awful,” she says. “I went home to be with my family, and we went out West that summer. We had no plan, just got in the car and drove. It was really good being all together––we all just kind of disappeared for a month.” She sat down to write when she got back to Nashville, and “One More Hell” came quickly. “The first time I ever played it live, this stranger in the front row was bawling,” she says. “It’s a sad song, but it’s kind of a happy song, I always say––people just feel it.”

Whitters takes the only two songs on the album she didn’t write––“City Girl” and “Pocket Change”––and owns them confidently. Her blithe version of “City Girl,” written by the Wrights, was featured in the 2015 season of Nashville, while her interpretation of Mando Saenz’s indignant “Pocket Change” gives the song a droll feminine spin.

Written by Whitters alone, stunner “Low All Afternoon” takes pity on a jilted other woman. Forlorn but commiserative, the song tells a true story Whitters witnessed a friend endure. “I like to write without a hook in mind sometimes––to just let the song move toward what it’s trying to say,” she says. “That’s how I approached this one. For about three months, I’d work on it, leave it, and then come back to it. That was a luxury.”

Martina McBride heard “Low All Afternoon” and recorded the song for her upcoming album, gifting Whitters with the first cut of her career. When asked about song’s journey, Whitters is grateful and amazed. “They say this doesn’t happen much anymore––a song written alone, a waltz, a ballad––being cut,” she says. “I feel like I created something real and honest, and it’s been so rewarding.”

Lately, Whitters has taken to gigging all over the country. She joined the lineup at the 30A Songwriters Festival for the first time and makes her SXSW debut this spring. She’s opened shows for acts ranging from Randy Houser to Chris Knight, and is sincerely grateful for every opportunity. “I will play just about anywhere,” she says with a laugh. “There’s something about getting out on the road and traveling that I just love.”

Winning over a crowd delivers an inimitable high for Whitters, who relishes connecting live. “I love performing ‘One More Hell,’” she says. “You think no one’s listening, and then the middle of that song, you see them raise their beer glasses in the air and know that they’re listening and that you’re all on the same page.”

“I’m a risk taker,” Whitters says. “My friends always laugh because I’m kind of one extreme or the other. I’m not really a middle ground kind of person. You take these risks, and then the reward is just…” She trails off for a moment. “I feel like the part that feels so awesome about it afterwards is knowing that you were scared to do it, but then you did -- and it paid off.”
Venue Information:
Cain's Ballroom
423 N Main St.
Tulsa, OK, 74103
http://www.cainsballroom.com