It’s the little surprises that make the Cadillac Three’s Bury Me in My Boots album special. Songs like “Slide” and “Hot Damn” are new but expected. Both come raw and without apology. These are the songs that make this trio a much more popular live act than radio act. It’s why the their fans are more loyal than Yankee fans.

One tier above those unharnessed country rockers, one finds cuts like “Party Like You" and the title track. These speak to the depth Jaren Johnston, Neil Mason and Kelby Ray are capable of, but only in whispers and often very quickly. The smartest lyrics are hidden like Easter eggs — powerful emotions are dropped in a whiskey bottle or overshadowed by a girl in Daisy Dukes.

The prime cuts hit the heart long after the guitars fade away. “This Accent” is a signature song on Bury Me in My Boots. Here Mason and Ray hold back a minute to allow Johnston’s allusions and nostalgia room to be effective (they’re rushed on songs like “Party Like You.”) If a hit song is coming from the album, this is it, but “Runnin’ Red Lights” is an even better example of the storyteller he’s become. Compare it to Eric Church’s “Like a Wrecking Ball” for its unexpected, aggressive-yet-sweet mix of romance and carnal desire.

A few like “Graffiti” and “Ship Faced” feel out of place on a project that alternates so effectively between growl and grown-man romance, often within the same song. The Cadillac Three thrive singing southern rock songs with depth. If Johnston can reveal a few scars along the way, all the better.

Key Tracks: "Slide," "Party Like You," "This Accent"

Did You Know?: Both Jake Owen and Dierks Bentley wanted to record "Ship Faced," but after some consideration (and urging from the "Somewhere on a Beach" singer) the Cadillac Three chose to keep it.

Watch: The Cadillac Three Feel Lucky To Be Alive

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