Neil Mason says the Cadillac Three's desire to return to form drove initial efforts to plan the Country Fuzz Presents series of livestreamed concerts. His wife's late-night baby feeding inspired the idea to make it a charitable cause.

Talking to Taste of Country, Mason says that his band didn't feel right doing acoustic livestreams, even from separate houses.

"That's not what we do," the hard-charging country-rock drummer says, and if you've see TC3 live, you know he's right. This isn't' a campfire band, even if individually Mason, Jaren Johnston and Kelby Ray have written some softer lyrics for themselves and other A-list artists.

Social distancing guidelines prevented them from getting together with a crew for a real jam, so they've been mostly idle since mid-March. Like so many artists, the trio was in Europe at the time with an eye on playing the eventually canceled C2C Music Festival. Their tour had started weeks prior, and they became more and more aware of the coronavirus every day. Where once he was walking around Sweden before shows, by the end Mason remembers being holed up in his hotel in London, only emerging to pick up food.

Watch TC3's RISERS Performance of a Song from Country Fuzz:

“I try to go with just what’s in front of me," Mason shares. "March 12, what was in front of me was playing a show in London, and then later on, March 12 what was in front of me was getting on a plane and flying home.”

After a quarantine and some varying levels of depression, the Cadillac Three began to look at how they could be a part of the new normal. The first step in planning Country Fuzz Presents (named after their 2020 Country Fuzz album) was reaching out to Mike Grimes, owner of the Basement on 8th Ave in Nashville. The band has played this venue frequently in their 15 years together and learned quickly they had a stage partner.

"I know that from having a lot of conversations with our friends at venues all over the country, how much venues are struggling right now," Mason says. "A lot of them are just sitting empty."

They spent a few weeks rehearsing, forming a lineup (see below) and dialing in the video aspect. Obviously cameras are key during this livestream concert series (Tickets available at the Country Fuzz Presents website). More than anything, they just want to bring live music back — real live music.

"And do it in a safe way," he new father shares. "The only people that will be in there are the band, our one sound guy and a production manager. The cameras are run remotely from people’s houses, so it's literally as few people as I think you can have in a venue to pull off a show."

In July, Mason and his wife Chelsea welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Louella. The family is going through the usual new parent anxieties, which means many late nights alone with baby.

See Live Photos of the Cadillac Three:

“My wife and I were sitting at home maybe three weeks ago," Mason starts, "and she said ‘You know there’s something that’s really been bothering me?’" Immediately he clenched up, figuring he'd done something wrong.

Instead, she began talking about the kids who rely on school for one or two meals per day and wondered where that food will come from if they couldn't attend school in person. This idea struck a chord with the rest of the band, especially as it pertains to Nashville and Middle Tennessee. since they're from the area. A few phone calls led the to a partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and a goal to raise enough money to cover 100,000 meals in 100 days. That's about $25,000, which will be collected through a portion of ticket proceeds and direct link donations. ToC readers can also donate at a customized SHFB portal.

The show won't include in-person fans, and it's a long way to where they want to be, but it's also a long way from where the Cadillac Three were five months ago. As a nation we've learned so much, with how to adapt being tops on the list. Mason kind of chuckles when he thinks back to that trip to Europe.

“It’s fun to look back now, but my wife packed me with two masks that I didn't really know what to do with," he says, laughing.

Country Fuzz Presents Lineup: (all times CDT)

Aug. 15 — Daniel Donato at 8PM
Aug. 16 — Caleb Lee Hutchinson at 9PM
Aug. 19 — The Cadillac Three at 8PM
Aug. 26 — Dark Water at 7PM
Aug. 27 — Boy Named Banjo at 8PM
Aug. 31 — Lillie Mae at 8PM
Sept. 6 — The Wonderful Nobodies at 8PM
Sept. 11 — Austin Jenckes at 8PM
Sept. 27 — Ray Fulcher at 8PM
Sept. 30 — Haile Whitters at 8PM

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