Throw together a boot-stompin' hillbilly sound, some ear-deafening Southern rock, three long-haired hillbillies who know how to party and a splash of Jack Daniels and you've got a band that's sure to stir up the country music scene.
Once you've thoroughly blended this wild, country concoction, you've got the dynamite trio, The Cadillac Three, who shook Scruffy City Hall over the weekend.
And shaking things up is exactly what the band aimed to do. The group's set emphasized pulse-quickening tempos, Southern smothered lyrics, dobro-filled melodies and a lead singer whose fingers flew over the frets of his grungy guitars faster than a freight train flying off the track.
While not fitting into the mold of most Southern rock 1970s-esque bands, The Cadillac Three's original brand of "country fuzz" doesn't fit today's clichéd country lyrics which are accompanied by stale, more pop than country melodies.
On the contrary, The Cadillac Three proved to be a group of down-to-the-bone hard rockers, yet genuine country crooners all wrapped up into one killer trio.
"We didn't wanna call it Southern rock; Southern rock kinda sounds like 1972," vocalist and drummer Neil Mason said in an interview with The Daily Beacon. "When we get in a room, or basement, or arena and we turn on amps and hit drums and stuff, that's what it sounds like."
And the band's motto was proven true after its garage-band volume level rocked the venue.
While the crowd immediately took to the Southern rockers, Market Square's newest hangout – Scruffy City Hall – fit the trio's sound better than any of the equally scruffy band member's well-worn trucker hats.
Though Mason, Jaren Johnston (lead vocals/guitar) and Kelby Ray's (dobro/lap steel/vocals) heart-stopping show didn't include an opening act, there was not one need. With the band's roof-shaking volume and hard-hitting, Southern lyrics, the group introduced its rock 'n' roll meets country band effectively from the get-go.
But The Cadillac Three's music wasn't the only spectacle of the night.
It was an electrifying show. Each band member took a swig of moonshine, a gift from a fan, the bar's owner scribbled "Scruffy City Hall" in black spray paint on the back wall during the show, Johnston climbed atop of Mason's cherry apple red kick drum and jumped off with guitar in hand, and the two faced off in a ridiculously awesome drum set competition.
The Cadillac Three kept it upbeat, jamming to familiar songs such as the riffy, down South anthem "I'm Southern" and "Tennessee Mojo," which was sure to steal the heart of any Tennessean.
"We just wanted like a really slow, kinda brooding riff that went over that really stompy drum beat (for the song)," Mason said. "It's kinda like a Southern White Stripes or something like that."
The trio added also added in their new single "The South" – which usually contains the voices of Mike Eli, Florida Georgia Line and Dierks Bentley – and their yet-to-be-released songs that are expected to be on their next album.
The upcoming album will also be released by arguably the most prominent record label in Nashville, Big Machine Records.
Though the band has collectively written dozens upon dozens of chart-topping hits for numerous artists, such as Keith Urban and Tim McGraw, and has tour plans with Eric Church's European tour and Jake Owen's summer tour this year, there wasn't a more down to earth band within a 500 mile radius of Scruffy City Hall Saturday.
After a face-melting performance, a hodgepodge of screaming guitar solos and 90 minutes of a country fuzz revival, the band members could be found at the bar and among new friends.
Though The Cadillac Three and Scruffy City Hall had many similarities, the hope to "keep Knoxville scruffy" is a motto the venue holds, as does this band of hillbilly rockers.
And if country music knows what's good for its future, they'll hold the same motto by keeping this scruffy band around for years to come.