The Devil Makes Three

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Photo by Giles Clement

When DM3 announced that their 5th LP would be comprised of all covers, I was not overly excited. As a rule, I tend not to enjoy covers albums. But as Katy Goodman & Greta Morgan’s excellent album proved earlier this year, rules are made to be broken. And now with the excellent, Redemption & Ruin, I might need to rethink my rule altogether.

The brilliance of the album is its theme – 6 songs of ruin followed by another half-dozen of redemption. Enlisting the help of Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and guitar great Duane Eddy, Pete, Cooper & Lucia trio fires through covers by Townes, Waits, Willie and Robert Johnson to name a few. The band has done a great job of putting their stamp on these tracks. We didn’t write these songs,” says Pete Bernhard, “So they’re up for interpretation, and really that’s the best approach to take anyway. If you invite someone to play on your album you obviously like them and trust what they do. So arrangements changed drastically. Most of the arrangements we went in there with were not the ones that we came out with. And that’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

With tunes like Drunken Hearted Man, I Gotta Get Drunk and I’m Gonna Get High; the opening side is definitely a damn good time. But the tide begins to turn with the dark cover of Townes’ Waiting Around To Die. The back half opens with the upbeat There’ll Be A Jubilee and doesn’t let up from there with ripping versions of I’m The Man Thomas and What Would You Give before ending with the dark tune of Hank’s Angel Of Death.

Redemption & Ruin started as inspired idea by a trio of friends that have been playing together for 15 years. Their vision was expertly executed and will make a worthy addition to your collection. And make sure you them live as that is where they really shine.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @HearYa

The Devil Makes Three is here

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A Devil Makes Three show is a hot mess. Everybody is grooving and if you look around; all you see are heads bobbing up in town. Most everybody is singing along and the place is hot as shit due to all the dancing. The crowd; well the crowd is a mix of all types – hippies, yuppies, hipsters, you name it. It is a special show to be a part of and difficult to recreate on an album. I wonder if that’s why it takes them so long in between albums. I mean who would want to stop playing shows that much fun to record in a studio.

I’m A Stranger Here is the first DM3 studio album in four years. To help them capture that feeling, they enlisted Nashville legend Buddy Miller to produce. Buddy and the band did a great job as the album was live-tracked with all of then playing in the same room. The crux of the band is the same – Cooper and Pete strumming on an acoustic guitar and/or banjo while Lucia slaps the stand-up bass while providing pitch-perfect backup vocals at every turn. The album is everything you hoped the new DM3 album would be with some subtle flourishes to build on their sound including horns and fiddle on some tracks.

Two of my standout tracks are the porch-stomping tracks of Spinning Like A Top and Hallelu, which is my favorite track of the album with its fantastic chorus of They say Jesus is coming, He Must be walking, he sure ain’t running. Who can blame him, Look how we’ve done him. Hallelu. The call and response in the Forty Days is a treat as Lucia’s vocals sound fantastic on this track. And the closing track; the twangy ballad – Goodbye Old Friends is a thing of beauty.

If DM3 are going to keep on knocking out albums that are this damn good, I will be willing to keep waiting four years between releases. To help pass the time, I plan on seeing them live once or twice between the next album because as good as their albums are; the live sets are twice as good.

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Sorry, we’ve been a little out of the loop this last week or so. School started back up and we’re all trying to find our rhythm again. So we’re going to ease back into things with some of our favorites.

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First up is HearYa session alumni, The Devil Makes Three. Since releasing Do Wrong Right in 2009, they’ve grown giant beards, played at Lolla and other major festivals, released an excellent live album and shaved off said beards.

Finally, four years later we’re getting the follow up with I’m A Stranger Here on October 29th. The album was tracked by Nashville legend Buddy Miller at Dan Auerbach’s place. That’s a lot of pedigree right there and judging by the first track, Stranger, we are in for a real humdinger of an album.

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Have you ever had a buddy tell you, (insert band name) is great, but you really need to see them live? You roll your eyes and call him (insert derogative name) and move on with your day. Well, get ready because that’s the message I am about to deliver to you.

There are a number of bands rolling around the country these days that get people worked up, but I have yet to see one who whips the crowd into a raucous frenzy like The Devil Makes Three. As I mentioned back when we had them in for a session, they are a band to be truly appreciated on the stage. I have seen them a few times and people literally lose their rag when they see them live. The crowd is a hodge-podge of America – Young, old, punks/deadheads, hipsters/normal people, greasers/soc’s, rich/poor, etc., etc.

So after their fantastic third effort, Do Wrong Right, the Bay Area trio thought they would deliver a taste of themselves playing in their most comfortable element – the stage. The album opens with one of their strongest tunes, “For Good Again.” And while sometimes, the crowd noise can feel forced on a live album, for anyone who’s seen DM3, the whoops and hollers feel natural.

Following up with “Statesboro Blues,” I can almost feel the crowd stomping to the furious banjo picking, not to mention the orgasmic screams that some young lass provides throughout the tune. Crowd-favorite “Old Number 7,” complete with some rad fiddle playing is smack dab in the middle of the collection.

They mix in songs from all three albums and also a couple of fresh ones (at least to me). While this album is a must-own and one of my favorites of the year, it doesn’t even come close to seeing them live. I urge, nay I plead with you to drag your ass out to see these guys. If you don’t like the show, HearYa will reimburse you for your ticket (ed. note – We’re not doing that).

The album is out today via Milan Records. They are touring now, so visit their site for tour dates.

The Devil Makes Three – “This Life” (from STOMP & SMASH – live album) by dm3milanrecord

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The Devil Makes Three – Aces and Twos [New Video]

December 1, 2010

The Devil Makes Three have long been HearYa favorites and their session with us is one that I frequently dive back into. The band spent most of 2010 touring and will hopefully hit the studio in 2011 to give us a follow up to their outstanding 2009 release, Do Wrong Right. Until then, they’ve dropped […]

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The Devil Makes Three – Live Session #52

August 4, 2009

A day or so after The Devil Makes Three stormed through Chicago, a buddy of mine asked how I liked the DM3 session. I rubbed my chin thoughtfully and responded in such fashion: “DM3 album es bueno” “DM3 in studio es muy bueno” DM3 live at Beat Kitchen es muy bueno con queso” What the […]

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The Devil Makes Three – Do Wrong Right [Album Review]

April 23, 2009

The Devil Makes Three has just released the latest chapter of their gypsy-punk-hillbilly-bluegrass-blues gospel in an album called Do Wrong Right. That description is a mouthful, but DM3 is far from ordinary. The drummer-less trio consists of guitarist/frontman Pete Bernhard, stand-up bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper McBean. Their sound is driven by rhythm and […]

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