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Jaren Johnston of the Cadillac III + Rolling Stone Country

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Their first single, Get Your Buzz On was released to Texas radio around October 2012. Back then they were called the Cadillac Black. Since ’12 the guys have gone on big tours with some major country acts, written major country hits, had a Top 40 single and changed their name.

Recently lead singer, Jaren Johnston sat down with Rolling Stone Country to talk about his life growing up in Nashville, to his life now; writing some of its biggest songs.

It was crazy to be there as a kid, walking around and stumbling into Porter Wagoner’s dressing room,” he remembers. “I saw Garth [Brooks] the first time he played the Opry. I saw Keith Whitley and Don Williams and Clint Black. I saw everyone. It was so cool.”

When Johnston turned 13, his father bought him a pair of guitars for Christmas. One was a classical Epiphone guitar; the other was a Kramer electric. Those two guitars appealed to both sides of Johnston’s musical tastes, allowing him to strum along to country records like Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind before picking up the Kramer and palm-muting the power chords to Nirvana’s Nevermind. Years later, Johnston boiled down those influences into a singular form of stomping, swaggering Southern rock — first with the Warner Bros. band American Bang, and later with the Cadillac Three.

Who has Johnston written songs for? No. 1 singles for Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Jake Owen and Rascal Flatts. Read more here.

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