Surprise! Less than a year after the release of their hard-rocking, label-busting Country Fuzz, the Cadillac Three are back with a new project, called Tabasco & Sweet Tea. The trio announced their next album with little fanfare, just days before dropping it on Friday (Oct. 23).

According to the bandmates, Tabasco & Sweet Tea is a continuation of the genre-blending, hybrid sounds that they established earlier in the year with the release of their last studio album. Once they started releasing songs that blended their funk and soul influences with country roots, they knew they'd tapped into promising creative vein.

"As we finished the last record, we knew we were only tapping the surface with songs like 'The Jam' for where we could go next musically, and found ourselves inspired to dive into these sounds that we had never explored before as a band," drummer Neil Mason says of the creative process behind Tabasco & Sweet Tea.

"We've always had a lot of influences," he adds, "but ultimately found ourselves thinking about what we were listening to in high school — the Meters, Stevie Wonder, Medeski Martin & Wood and John Scofield."

While they're keeping the full track list of their 11-song project close to the vest until Tabasco & Sweet Tea drops, TC3 hint that their album takes its name from one of its song's titles. Another, they add, will be called "Sabbath on Cornbread." Plus, lead singer Jaren Johnston says that the project may be more of an abstract venture into funk than fans have seen before from the band.

"This album is a science project," Johnston explains. "Constantly moving in different directions but keeping one cohesive feel throughout. We kind of have this innate thing going after all these years, so it's cool to kind of stretch into some new musical spaces with elements of a DJ set that flows from track to track, but mixed with '80s funk vibes and jam-band flow over hardcore country lyrics."

Since the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Cadillac Three have — like every other act in country music — seen their touring schedule impacted by shutdowns. Live performances have always been a hallmark of the trio's artistic identity, and despite the fact that they can't perform in front of an audience, they've found creative ways to stay connected to their fanbase while simultaneously providing relief during what has been a difficult year for many.

They established a livestream residency called Country Fuzz Presents, which brings live music to Nashville venues the Basement and Exit/In. The show also helps support the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee as part of the band's "100,000 Meals in 100,000 Days" initiative. In keeping with that theme of providing support for those affected by the pandemic, the Cadillac Three are capping their new album's price at $3.99 for the first week of sales. Through the discounted early price, the band hopes that the music will reach whoever needs it.

"We wouldn't be where we are without our fans," points out bassist Kelby Ray. "We lost the ability to tour and know many of our fans have also lost their ability to work consistently this year so we wanted to find a way to provide this album as cost effectively as we could."

Following the album's Oct. 23 release, the Cadillac Three will take the stage on Oct. 27 during their Country Fuzz Presents livestream series to perform some of the new songs off of Tabasco & Sweet Tea.