The Devil Makes Three are returning to Nashville for an incredible night at The Cannery Ballroom on October 23rd, 2015. The Vermont-based band, consisting of upright bassist Lucia Turino, Guitarist Cooper McBean, and frontman Pete Bernhard, are no strangers to vivacious audiences familiar with their unique mix of exuberant rhythms, rousing harmonies, and lively acoustic style. They’ve been touring the world, including stops overseas in Amsterdam and Brussels, and have found that the love for their music reaches even corners of countries they’ve never been to. Ahead of their show in Nashville, I had the chance to talk to Pete Bernhard, who was excited to return to the city where they recorded their most recent record I’m A Stranger Here with producer Buddy Miller at Easy Eye Sound.
“I’m always excited about returning to Nashville. Not only do I have family here, but there are great people, great musicians in the area that we play with.” In fact, after they play here this month, they’re hoping to return to work on their next project. “After we come through we want to come back to town and do some recording. We’re hoping when we come back we can play on a satellite radio show as well. It’s always great to come back to Nashville. It just has great studios and great players.”
Though Nashville stands out on the top of their their list of places to visit, Bernhard also made some lasting memories during their trek through Europe, saying, “We had a great crowd in Amsterdam, it was amazing, probably our biggest and most enthusiastic crowd yet.” In fact, they seem to have an even bigger fanbase in Europe than they do in America. “We caught on a little quicker over there than we have here, which is strange, because the music we play is such American music. We’ve had a lot of momentum there and things have taken off really quickly. Audiences there tend to be very respectful, almost to the point where you’re not sure if they like you are not, they’re just very quiet and don’t get as wild as they do in the US. But there are huge fans of American music in Europe, some even knowing more about American Blues, Rock n’ Roll and Jazz than I do, so it’s really impressive.”
Fans of the band are drawn to their energetic performance style and unique sonic aesthetic, which seemed to expand even more on their 2015 release, I’m A Stranger Here. Bernard says that influences ranged vastly, based on both personal experiences the members of the band had gone through, and past musical influences. “We wanted to do some stuff that I always loved, and Buddy Miller did as well, which was a lot of Willie Dixon Chess Records inspired stuff. It was a huge influence on me as a musician, the classic Chicago Blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, the basis of rock and roll – that became a huge influence on this last record as well. On top of recording the whole record live, which was how those records were recorded back then.” He goes on to say that, “it’s a slightly darker record as a reflection of us having a rough couple of years, with some friends passing away, and it just being a hard time for everyone. Those are the two major influences on this record that we didn’t have on previous ones.”
The Devil Makes Three have no lack of excitement and anticipation surrounding each and every one of their shows, and fans that can’t come out, can catch a glimpse of those moments via their Salt Stage Video series, currently on their website. Bernhard views these unique videos as a way to share what they do each and every night with fans across the world, who otherwise couldn’t catch a live set.
For those of us that can, we can expect a lot from the band, who pride themselves on shaking it up for the audience. “We have songs that are 10 years old, so to shake it up sometimes we’ll do them a little differently, that way fans can hear the old stuff but it’s also something new… We’re always working on covers to incorporate into our sets, as well. Classic songs that will connect with our audience.” He continues, “We really just want people to walk away with our songs stuck in their head. That’s the reason we write the songs we do, to hear them sung back to us and to know they’ll walk away and remember what they heard.”
Be sure to check out The Devil Makes Three at The Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, Friday, October 23rd at 9PM. Tickets can be purchased here ($20).