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Interview with The Cadillac Three’s Kelby Ray

PUBLISHED: 16:30 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:54 03 November 2017

The Cadillac Three. Photo: The Cadillac Three

The Cadillac Three. Photo: The Cadillac Three

© Big Machine Label Group, LLC.

We caught up with The Cadillac Three’s lap-steel player Kelby Ray ahead of their headline show at the UEA on November 15.

The Cadillac Three. Photo: The Cadillac Three The Cadillac Three. Photo: The Cadillac Three

You opened your European tour last night in Berlin. How did that go?

It was great. We had a good crowd! It was our first headline show in about a month. We just did two weeks with a guy named Dallas Smith in Canada so it was fun to get back to headlining and having our own crowd.

Are you excited to be coming back to the UK?

Oh yeah! Our biggest shows are in the UK. Usually we start in the UK and then go to Europe, that’s how we did it with the last couple of tours, but I think we are excited to save the best for last this time.

The Cadillac Three's album Legacy. Photo: The Cadillac Three The Cadillac Three's album Legacy. Photo: The Cadillac Three

Country music is on the rise in the UK. How has it been touring Europe and the UK, have the audiences differed from your home shows in America?

You know, it’s similar but different. In the UK, I feel like, the people at the shows are a lot more receptive to what’s going on the entire show, they get really fired up. They can’t wait to hear what’s going to come out of Jaren’s mouth next, and they just love the music and really pay attention. They are very eager fans and it’s a lot of fun.

It was a lifelong dream of yours to play at the Ryman, which you have now done. What was it like playing a sold out concert there?

That was a monumental night for us, growing up in Nashville and being able to do that. If we didn’t have the UK tour plan we may have just stayed home after that and just hung it out. As far as Nashville shows go, it doesn’t get cooler than that, so that was a real treat.

You’ve got a new album, Legacy, which came out in August. How does this differ from your previous two and what was the writing process like for it?

A lot of it got done on the road because we were on tour pretty much the whole year, and I think we turned it around pretty quickly. It just turned into more of a mature sounding record with not as much of the gritty fast-paced songs, a little bit more introspective, y’know Legacy kind of being about family and everything. It shows a little bit more of a mature side and a little bit of growth, who knows what will happen on the next one.

Do you think it’s been your favourite one so far?

I think so. It’s like having kids, I guess the new baby is your favourite one at the moment. [laughs]

What sort of sound do you think you will have for your new album, are you going to keep maturing or do you think you’ll take an entirely new turn?

We’ve written a few new songs and they’re kind all over the place. There’s stuff that’s a little heavier, so I guess we will just wait and see. We’re not really trying to go in a direction, we are kind of just letting it be and seeing what happens.

Jaren Johnston describes you as being “the most badass band in country music”. How do you feel about this bold statement?

I mean I agree with him! [laughs] We definitely have a fun almost aggressive sound in our live shows, it’s definitely badass. There’s a lot of great bands and great music out there, but I guess we definitely have more of a metal and rock influence in our stage presence and in our riffs and everything. On the records I think it might sound a little more country, and then it’s definitely a lot more rock at the live shows for sure.

What’s next for you all as a band? I know that you’ve got a big American tour coming up with Luke Bryan and Kip Moore. Are you looking forward to that?

Yeah that will be a good time. We are really good friends with Kip, Jaren and him are really good buddies. I’ve met Luke Bryan I think once, and Jaren might have met him a couple of times, and it’s going to be great.

Right now it’s like six shows, there may be a few more, but it won’t be like last year, or the year before with Florida Georgia Line. It’s hard to commit to something like that that takes up your whole year and keeps you from headlining your own shows.

It will be a lot of fun and it will still give us time to do some headlining stuff. That’s the next plan for us to write some more songs and start working on a new record and start booking some more headline shows in 2018 and try figure out when the next time we will come to the UK will be, hopefully about this time next year again.

Make sure you catch The Cadillac Three at their headline show in Norwich. Tickets are available from the UEA Box Office.

You can find The Cadillac Three on Facebook, Twitter and at their website.

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