Country Jukebox Jury – Everette and The Cadillac Three

Everette – Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot Side A

Everette are two guys from Kentucky (one of them has the most amazing beard) whose album Kings of the Dairy Queen Parking Lot is coming out in two parts. Produced by Luke Laird, there are seven tracks on Side A which introduce the band to market. Is there space for them? Well it helps them that there aren’t many duos around, and it helps that the music is top quality.

Can’t Say No is a funky opener driven by a twanging riff. ‘Quitting you ain’t easy’ introduces a chorus full of pleasures – dancing, drinking, and you – which made me sway and sing. It’s as if someone has told Florida Georgia Line to stop posturing and grow up. It sounds authentically southern but very poppy and I can see Everette winning over many Luke Combs fanatics. Check out the brief key change and the wigout solo too! Note to the band: segue into Harry Nilsson’s Coconut when you perform it live.

Two more songs go long on the rock. Break It To Me is a song about waiting for a ‘big FU’, anticipating the very moment of a breakup but wondering how the woman will do it. It’s so hooky and effervescent. Dang The Whiskey is a tempo tune where the guys are getting ‘loose’ at the bar. It has hints of both Eric Church and The Cadillac 3 – it’s loud and contains the lyric ‘SOB’ – and it’ll sound great at a tailgate party, or when covered by Backwoods Creek, who would be a perfect support act should Everette be able to play huge venues in the UK next year.

The title track includes the line ‘being young ain’t never getting old’ – come on!! – and it makes me think how teenagers today can’t fumble around or muck about in a parking lot because of the virus. Way Back is a middle of the dirt road love song in the modern style: guy meets girl and have a ‘hands in pocket conversation’ but it seems like they’ve known each other since they were swapping mixtapes back in the day. Love Me Like I Am, about accepting a partner’s perfect imperfections, begins with a catchy wordless hook and a Church-like strum and vocal. ‘My straight and narrow’s crooked’ is a great line – they can sing, write and ensure good production from maestro Luke Laird – and it’s got a lovely melody.

Momma I’ll Be OK is a down home country song in which the vocalists tell their mum that they ought to call more and read books. Momma songs are coming back – Luke Combs has released Without You – and thank goodness for that. Some lovely whistling too. If Side B is as good as Side A, this band will be enormous. 5/5 and I trust Luke Laird’s taste (and the money from Broken Bow Records) on Everette. Remember the name.

The Cadillac Three – Tabasco & Sweet Tea

TC3, as they are known to all, were due to play Country2Country this spring before events intervened, while promoting their Country Fuzz album. I felt that record would have benefitted from being a little shorter and more varied tonally. The 11 tracks here, surprising fans in October, are a funky bunch. The fuzz pedals have stayed in the box and TC3 are experimenting a little. 

Tabasco & Sweet Tea kicks off with the title track, which compares a lady to things that are hot yet gorgeous. I love the chorus about ‘that bartender upstairs making a concoction’ that led to this woman. The riff is slinky and the melody is, as ever, excellent. Road Soda is even better, even if it’s 99% Uptown Funk.

It’s an album about girls and vehicles. Case in point: Stop That Girl, Head Over Wheels (‘that vroom vroom vroom gives me a heart attack’) and Sweet Southern Spirit, which namechecks Lynyrd Skynyrd. It makes a change from the dirty blues of previous albums and reminds me of Red Hot Chili Peppers more than anyone else. I hope some of these songs make it to their live set as it will give them the tonal variety that I wanted from their last album.

Bridges (‘we learn which ones to cross, which ones to burn’) is a two-chord tune which could also work as blues rock but it’s more gentle in this arrangement. It’s co-written with Frank Rogers, who has worked extensively with Brad Paisley. Money Ain’t Shit (‘if you ain’t got love’) has some nifty production while Turn The Radio On is potty-mouthed southern funk. Stoner jam Devil’s Lettuce is spoke-sung by Jaren and the lyric namechecks Dazed & Confused and ‘the munchies’. It reminds me of Beck.

The album ends with Sabbath On Cornbread, a piece of braggadocio which also looks at the gentrification of Nashville. ‘Three long-hairs gonna keep on changing the game’ is the takehome point and I think TC3 have earned the right to brag a bit. Well done to Big Machine for putting out something that looks like a very skilled passion project. Tabasco & Sweet Tea is a fully realised album and I look forward to seeing where TC3 go next, even if they may have to wait to come to London. 4/5

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