Q&A with The Cadillac Three’s Neil Mason

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Nashville trio The Cadillac Three has played The Gorge before and their return to the legendary setting overlooking the Columbia River on Saturday is always a highlight on the summer tour schedule.

They are one of Rolling Stone Country’s “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” and will roll into the Columbia Basin six dates into a 48-gig tour, supporting their new album “Legacy,” which will be released Aug. 25 on Big Machine Records. They are up at 5:10 p.m. on Saturday night.

The Columbia Basin Herald caught up with drummer Neil Mason for a telephone conversation from San Diego, where the band is currently working its way north.

Thanks for your time. Let’s start off with your take on the direction of country music. It’s not your father’s country anymore with Hank Williams standing at a mike. How do you see the industry in general?

Mason: “It’s interesting, there’s been a lot of new sounds over the past couple of years. I personally am a fan of diversity. I’m not a big fan of boundaries. I like the fact that people are breaking barriers. There’s a certain amount of old school that’s part of the tradition, but I like the new approach different artists are taking.

Trying to develop your niche in the industry, is it about breaking out or blending in with what’s been done previously?

Mason: “For our band, I don’t think it’s not about trying to fit in or fit out. When the three of us play, we’re just trying to develop our sound. The cool thing is that we write our own songs and we know what we want them to sound like. We play the way it feels right for us. We all grew up with that southern rock sound like the Allman Brothers, so we draw on that. But at the same time, we were all born and raised in Nashville, so we were always surrounded by country music. So it’s back to a variety of influences mixed into what we do.

“Legacy” is the new album due out next month, have you been giving audiences a taste of that release on the first few dates of the tour?

Mason: “We’ve been playing half of the record. I think we’re happy with the response so far. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to do it live, but the response (on social media) has been real positive.”

OK, last question. The Gorge is one of those legendary places to play. What do you think about the venue overlooking the Columbia River?

Mason: “My uncle is from Seattle, so when I was 13 I flew out here. The Gorge was one of my first big concert scenes. I’ve wanted to play there ever since and we finally did a couple of years ago. Now we’re a little farther down the line and we get to do it again. I remember standing backstage looking at the Columbia River thinking how small we really are. I’m just one guy on this planet. What I really enjoy is that our music goes all the way through the canyon down to the river. That’s the kind of stuff I remember. A lot of people think what we do is about money or stardom, but looking out over the river is the kind of thing that makes what I do special.”

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