The Cadillac Three's Jaren Johnston admits it was his fear of dying young that inspired the title track of the trio's debut album, Bury Me in My Boots. He understands his lifestyle isn't always great for those he loves most.

“I was trying to make it past 27," Johnston tells Taste of Country. "Then I was trying to make it past 33 because Keith Whitley died at 33. We’re doing pretty good.”

Johnston and his TC3 bandmates Neil Mason and Kelby Ray talked to Taste of Country about the songs on their debut album, many of which show a little more depth than you may expect if your expectations were shaped by their long hair and whiskey-fueled brand of country-rock. Dirty rockers like "Slide" and "Party Like You" still stand out, but fans will also find an urgent love song called "Runnin' Red Lights" and a meaty statement of Southern pride called "This Accent." "Bury Me in My Boots" was penned by the trio, and they say it was based on their experiences.

"The idea of the song was like … it’s scary," Johnston says. "It’s scary going, ‘Baby I love you, but I’ve chose this path — whether it’s drinking or drug dealing or whatever it is. That’s kind of what that mindset was. ‘And you can’t go with me.’”

Bury Me In My Boots Album Art
Big Machine Records

"My hourglass was always half empty / Was bound to be the bottle or the bullet that bit me / So when I go, baby, you know what to do / Bury me in my boots / And don't forget the whiskey," Johnston sings over power chords.

Bury Me in My Boots is the Cadillac Three's first album, released three years after they introduced themselves with "The South." They've embraced the long road to success, but admit it's been frustrating at times to see songs they've written for other artists hit No. 1 when their songs have sputtered. The fact is that songs like "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" would have felt strange coming from them, at that time in their lives.

"When I wrote 'Raise 'Em Up,'" Johnston stays referring to Keith Urban's hit, "we weren't there yet. Now we are."

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