The Devil Makes Three - Wakarusa Music Festival

2012 Artist Lineup

The Devil Makes Three

With a slightly punky perspective on vintage American blues, The Devil Makes Three is a breath of fresh musical air on its eponymous Milan debut. Laced with elements of ragtime, country, folk and rockabilly, the critically praised, drummer-less trio – consisting of guitarist/frontman Pete Bernhard, stand-up bassist Lucia Turino and guitarist Cooper McBean – brings forth a genuine approach to acoustic music that is deeply steeped in rhythm. “The rhythm is what our band is about,” Bernard enthuses. “We write with rhythm and dancing in mind.” Launched with the “The Plank,” an ode to meeting one’s maker, The DMT’s infectious amalgam of styles talks the talk and it walks the walk right out of the starting gate. From the outfit’s badass, backporch blues ode “Ten Feet Tall” – which is alive with three-part harmonies – to “Shades,” a wry look at barstool hugging daytime drunks, Pete, Lucia and Cooper create music that is pleasingly dissimilar to most other bands in modern music. Early critical praise of its self-produced recorded entry has earned comparisons to the likes of The Violent Femmes, Steve Earle and The White Stripes. “I grew up listening to a lot of old blues music when I was young,” explains Pete, who was raised in rural Vermont and first befriended McBean in the eighth grade. “He was the only person I knew who was into the same style, although he leaned more toward the country side of things. When we started out playing, we were doing punk and rock.” Fast forward a decade as The Devil Makes Three took shape in Santa Cruz, California. Pete moved west right out of high school with Cooper soon following suit. After first settling Olympia, Washington and playing in an ill-fated band, McBean – who by now had the name of his home state tattooed across his neck – again joined musical forces with Bernhard. In turn, they later teamed with New Hampshire-native and U.C. Santa Cruz attendee Lucia. A spiritual fit, her enthusiasm made up of for her initial lack of ability. “Lucia had always wanted to play bass,” says Pete. “Cooper and I had already rented a stand-up bass for the group. And the main reason we were really excited about letting her give it a shot was because she didn’t know how to do anything we didn’t want her to do. And our music is simple, so the last thing that we wanted was someone who was overplaying for fear it would ruin the songs. She wound up learning really quickly, and it wasn’t long before she surpassed us.” With the goal of being “an acoustic band but to play our shows like a rock show,” the band changed notions of what acoustic music could be. “A lot of it is really calm, and performances are sort of a ‘sit down, don’t talk, don’t move’ kind of an event. Thinking back to the old blues, ragtime and jug band music, it was house music, party music. That was what we wanted to do. And there really aren’t any other bands doing that.”

Mulberry Mountain :: Ozark, Arkansas
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