Band of the Week: Devil Makes Three

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Band of the Week: Devil Makes Three
Photo by Giles Clement


Pete Bernhard (guitarist), Lucia Turino (bassist), Cooper McBean (guitarist)

THEY CAME FROM CALIFORNIA: This bluegrass-y trio has slowly picked up steam ever since forming in Santa Cruz in 2002. Singer-guitarist Pete Bernhard says that Santa Cruz, the birthplace of indie rock heroes Camper Van Beethoven, proved to be a good spot to start a band. "Even though it's a very small town, it has a great music scene for the size of the town," he says. "It's situated well. There was a big punk rock and rockabilly and indie rock scene in Santa Cruz because of the college, and they have decent music clubs. It was a great music scene, and people were very supportive. We got on community and college radio early on."

A FOLKIE AT HEART: Bernhard says he grew up in a folk music family and only started appreciating bluegrass music later in life. "My dad was a big Woody Guthrie fan," he says. "My brother was big into rock 'n' roll, and my aunt was a folk singer. My dad and brother are the ones who got me into early blues and country blues. I tried to play that when I first picked up a guitar and learned how to fingerpick and play the slide guitar."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: With its latest release, Redemption & Ruin, Devil Makes Three pays tribute to the band's biggest influences with new interpretations of songs originally recorded by people like Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Townes Van Zandt. Also, special guests like Emmylou Harris, Tim O'Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and guitar great Duane Eddy make cameos on the disc. The Muddy Waters' track "Champagne and Reefer" features some terrific slide guitar and cooing backing vocals as it has a gritty edge to it. "I'm a huge Muddy Waters fan, and [the blues is] a big part of what we do," says Bernhard. "That might be overlooked a bit because we have an upright bass and people think bluegrass. We take a big influence from the blues, especially that era of Chess Records and all the blues greats that recorded for that label. That's a huge influence and it fit well on the album. It's the first time we covered Muddy Waters but hopefully not the last, since I really love doing it."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Devil Makes Three performs at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 14, at House of Blues.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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