They’re young, tattooed and bristling with attitude. No, it’s not a rock and roll band, though in some regards The Devil Makes Three certainly could be. Their music throbs with rock energy and when they play, it’s a party.
Formed and based in Santa Cruz, California, The Devil Makes three plays a crackling hybrid of acoustic music some call folk punk. With elements of bluegrass, old time music, country, folk, blues, ragtime, and rockabilly, it is exciting, deeply rhythmic acoustic music you’ve likely never heard before now.
The Devil Makes Three performs at this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Saturday, June 23,12:45 p.m.
The group’s members are guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, and guitarist and tenor banjo player Cooper McBean.
“The rhythm is what our band is about,” Bernard says. “We write with rhythm and dancing in mind.”
Their music has drawn comparisons to The White Stripe and the Violent Femmes, which is no surprise considering Bernhard and McBean started their musical partnership together playing rock and punk. McBean’s love of country music and their shared desire to bring a more raucous party vibe to acoustic music live shows fuels The Devil Makes Three’s infectious energy.
Three-part harmonies, Turino’s locked down bass playing and the guitar and banjo instrumentation are all rooted in bluegrass traditions, but the lyrics are edgier and more contemporary. And it is not sit down and pay attention music. The band wanted their shows to feel more like a rock and roll 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,” says Bernard.
The Devil Makes Three bring a refreshing brand of acoustic music to the beloved traditions the Telluride Bluegrass Festival represents on the Fred Shellman Memorial Stage in Telluride Town Park. Discoveries like these young musicians are important to festival organizers, who view their role as bringing new music to old fans and old music to young fans.
Here’s a rousing example of The Devil Makes Three’s brand of acoustic music. Welcome to the future.