The full title of The Devil Makes Three’s second live album is Stomp and Smash and Slash and Crash and Bash and Bust and Burn. For the fans who’ve seen them, this is a pretty bang on description of the live show. One gig in Vancouver early in their career ended with a brawl and multiple arrests. Mischievous vocalist and guitarist Pete Bernhard has said he remembers it fondly. Blending old timey country, bluegrass, folk, jazz, jug band and ragtime with the energy of a full tilt punk act, TDM3 have spent nearly 18 years treating their audiences to its scorched earth approach to live shows. Fans come away sweaty, sore and hoarse, and sometimes battered and bruised.
The trio originally formed in 2002 after Bernhard and banjo player Cooper McBean relocated from Vermont to Santa Cruz. They were joined by Lucia Turino on upright bass. Their self-titled debut took off as a cult favourite, particularly on the strength of “Old Number 7,” a joyful ode to drinking Jack Daniels. Now five original studio albums, a cover album and two live discs later, the trio has added a percussionist to the live show and a pandora’s box of instrumentation on their recordings. Bernhard has described their latest effort Chains Are Broken as a series of short stories about being a musician, and their songs can include literary nods to authors such as James Baldwin and Flannery O’Connor. But when they take the stage, they have a laser focus on one goal — giving their fans the most exhilarating musical experience of their lives. Until TDM3 tops it next time.
Biography by Sean Myers