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Cadillac Three to hit the stage at Celebration 2014
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The Cadillac Three will perform Thursday for Celebration 2014 at Martinsville Speedway. The group members are (from left) Neil Mason, Jaren Johnston and Kelby Ray.

Friday, June 27, 2014

By MIKE SMITH -

Kelby Ray says it’s pretty easy to describe the music of The Cadillac Three.

“Throw Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., Metallica and Tom Petty in a blender and then serve it on the rocks. That’s exactly what you get with our music,” said Ray. “We all grew up in Nashville and we’re trying to dig into those influences … ’80s country and ’80s and ’90s rock.”

Ray is the lap steel guitarist for The Cadillac Three, an emerging old-country rock band that will headline Celebration 2014 at Martinsville Speedway on July 3.

Celebration 2014, a free-to-the-public event, will begin at 3 p.m. July 3 when the carnival rides open. The entertainment will begin at 4 p.m. when Superhold takes the stage. Domino will play at 6 p.m., followed by The Cadillac Three. The area’s largest fireworks display will begin when the music ends.

The Cadillac Three has been around for a while, perfecting its craft in honky tonks and small venues. Along the way the group caught the attention of Big Machine Label Group founder Scott Borchetta. He liked that the group didn’t mimic the pop-country music that dominates the airwaves. He quickly signed the band to his label, joining a lineup of artists that includes Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Florida-Georgia Line, the Band Perry and many more.

The move is paying dividends. The Cadillac Three’s first single, “The South,” was an instant hit, selling more than 200,000 downloads. Ray said the group is working feverishly in the studio to get its first album complete while maintaining a full concert schedule.

“Everything has been pretty cool for us. We’re working on finishing the album right now … we’re trying to knock it out in between playing shows and spreading The Cadillac Three message,” he said.

The group is opening for Jake Owen at present and also has toured with Eric Church and Dierks Bentley in the past year.

Ray said the visit to Martinsville Speedway won’t be the first trip to a NASCAR track for himself and bandmates Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason. Borchetta is a huge race fan and has competed at the weekly racing level near Nashville. He has on occasion taken the group with him to Sprint Cup venues.

“He (Borchetta) is big on racing, and he’s taken us out with him,” said Ray. “And all three of us get NASCAR. It’s all part of the Southern culture. When I was a kid, I was all about (Dale) Earnhardt Sr. We all grew up watching, and we still keep up with it.”

There is no admission charge to Celebration 2014, and the carnival rides also are free. Concession items will be on sale.

Everyone attending Celebration 2014 is urged to bring non-perishable food and personal care items and drop them off at one of several collection areas at entrance gates and in the carnival ride area to help the Fuel For Families Food Drive. Donations will be used to help restock area food banks.

Sponsors for Celebration 2014 include: American Global Logistics, Ameristaff, Applied Felts, Bassett Furniture, Bassett Office Supply, BB&T, Blue Ridge Aquaculture, Brad Parker Insurance Agency – Nationwide Insurance, Carter Bank & Trust, Carter Machinery, Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth, City of Martinsville, Collinsville Printing, Commonwealth Laminating, Cool Knobs and Pulls, Dillon Insurance, Eastman, First Piedmont, Frith Construction, Henry County, Henry County Baptist Association, Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Hooker Furniture, Martinsville DuPont Credit Union, Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville Speedway Children’s Foundation, Memorial Hospital in Martinsville, Nelson Automotive, RTI Martinsville, River Community Bank, Shenandoah Furniture, Southwestern Virginia Gas, Stanley Furniture, Steve Martin Trenching, TR Properties, Taco Bell, Tarheel Paper and Supply Co., The Lester Group, Virginia Mirror, West Window and Zenith Logistics.

Editor’s note: Mike Smith is director of public relations at Martinsville Speedway.

 

 
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