Nashville natives Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason (two-thirds of acclaimed Nashville trio The Cadillac Three) have entered into a joint venture partnership with Warner Records for their newly created, Nashville-based label War Buddha Records.
The first artist signed to the venture is West Virginia-raised, Los Angeles-based vocalist and songwriter Rett Madison. Described by American Songwriter as “somewhere between the raw lyricism of Phoebe Bridgers and the powerful production of Hozier” and “the perfect storm of intriguing yet relatable,” Madison’s sound and ethos embodies the War Buddha philosophy. Fresh from a run of shows with St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Madison is currently on tour and will play a run of shows at SXSW 2023, including March 14 at Mala Vida, followed by the Quinnstorm/C3 Presents party at Lambert’s and the SXSW showcase at Cooper’s BBQ on March 15 and March 18 at The Stay Put for the SXSW/Gigmor Showcase—more info is below.
“For as long as I have known Jaren and Neil, they have never taken a conventional path,” said Aaron Bay-Schuck, co-Chairman & CEO, Warner Records. “They’ve been fearless in their pursuit of great art, never compromising any integrity or authenticity in their approach to their own artistry or collaborations as songwriters and producers for other artists. As we continue to build the Warner Records brand as one that is always a safe and encouraging place for artists who dare to be different, take risks, and have a point of view, it made total sense to partner with War Buddha on their mission to do the same. We are very excited to welcome Rett Madison as the first artist from this partnership and we can’t wait to see what other unique and amazing talent Jaren and Neil discover.”
“As artists ourselves, we created War Buddha first and foremost as a home for artists,” Johnston says. “In partnering with our longtime friend Aaron Bay-Schuck, alongside Tom Corson and the stellar Warner Records team, we saw the opportunity to mix our dirt with Warner’s power to create a venture fostering both creative expression and commercial success.”
“We want the label to offer a platform for artists with unique perspectives who fit out, not in and feel unafraid to tell their stories unapologetically,” Mason says. “Rett is the perfect first signing for the label: an artist with the incredible ability to capture life experiences in songs that make the listener feel they are in those moments with her. We’re so grateful to Aaron and Tom for the chance to build this label together.”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the Warner family with War Buddha!” Madison says. “I’ve felt such genuine enthusiasm from Neil and Jaren in regards to my music and their total support of me sharing my most authentic, artistic voice feels refreshing. I can’t wait to see what we all build together.”
Johnston and Mason are Nashville natives, longtime friends and founding members of The Cadillac Three, with whom they’ve put out five much-lauded albums on Big Machine Records and earned multiple ACM nominations. In addition to their work in the band, both are GRAMMY-nominated songwriters. Johnston has nine country radio #1 singles with writing and production credits for Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Eric Church and many more. Mason has penned songs for Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Billy Gibbons and a host of others.