By Annie Reuter
When you turn on your favorite country radio station, there’s a good chance the song you’re listening to was written by The Cadillac Three.
Frontman Jaren Johnston has two songs in the Top 10 of the Country Airplay charts, according to Mediabase, with Jake Owen‘s “Beachin'” and “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” by Tim McGraw featuring his wife, Faith Hill. Meanwhile, bandmate Neil Mason is the man behind Rascal Flatts‘ new single “Payback.”
“I’m pissed off that he gave ‘Payback’ to Rascal Flatts,” Johnston confessed, pointing to Mason. “He never played it for us. I would have done that. But we’ll talk about that later.”
“At the time, as soon as I got done with it I was like, ‘I gotta send this to Keith,'” Johnston said. Urban immediately liked what he heard and cut it that week. It wasn’t until months later, when Johnston took the stage with Urban at the ACM Party for a Cause event in April in front of 20,000 people that he realized what he had given away
“I took Eric’s part and I was like, ‘S–t,'” Johnston said. “It really clicked, I could sing that song every night.”
Another song The Cadillac Three may wish they kept for themselves was “Tall Glass of Something,” which made it onto Owen’s latest album, Days of Gold. Owen is clearly a fan of the band, cutting five songs—including the album’s title track—that were written by Johnston, who he considers his “buddy because I appreciated his songwriting and I love the band that he’s playing with.”
“I think that’s what music is,” Owen told Radio.com. “It just draws people to each other. You get attracted to the sound of someone’s music they’re making and [Johnston] was gracious enough to continue to send me songs knowing that I enjoyed what he was doing. That’s how it happened. Before I knew it I looked down and made a record with five songs that Jaren had written. It wasn’t necessarily planned that way, but the best songs win.”
While The Cadillac Three continue to add writing credits to their resumé, they also keep busy working on the followup to their 2013 self-titled debut. Their latest single is “Party Like You,” which was inspired by Ram Jam and their song “Black Betty.”
“I just wanted to have a riff that was very us with this big driving chorus that explained this guy looking for this girl that happens to be a party,” Johnston said. “It just came out. It’s fun to play live because it has a weird time signature in the riff so it throws people off a little bit, but then it brings people back in.”
The band said they’re trying to make their next album “as out there as possible,” while still making it accessible to music fans.
“We’re keeping the same mentality as first record, but trying to grow as a band,” Johnston said. “It’s still just the three of us in there playing. There’s going to be some weird Pink Floyd moments but there’s going to be some straight down the middle, damn that’s a hit moments.”