Devil Makes Three has stepped away from its originals and recorded an album of covers broken into themes based on redemption and ruin.
Half of the songs on the album, titled “Redemption & Ruin,” are based on redemption, and the other half on ruin. The trio, which fuses bluegrass, blues, country, folk, Americana and more put together the album of music by singers and songwriters who influenced the band’s formation and direction.
“We started out with a ton of songs, just all from people that we really respected and loved,” Devil Makes Three guitarist Pete Bernhard said. “We tried to then take those songs and kind of whittle them down over time and fit them into the two sides of the record – one side being redemption and the other being ruin. We tried a lot of songs. I think we probably started out with 40 songs or something like that and then got down to the ones that you hear.”
Bernhard said the songs that clicked best with the band were the ones selected for the new album. Some of those songs got a new Devil Makes Three twist, but others remained true to form.
“It really depended on the song,” Bernhard said. “Some of the songs didn’t really need hardly anything. It was sort of perfect for them, and it just worked really well with our band and our sound already. Others took a little bit more tweaking and work – you know, getting them where we want them to be. And also in the studio, we really try to get our guests to help us kind of produce the songs, and we kept the arrangements pretty loose.”
The album features covers of songs by Hudson Whittaker, Kris Kristofferson, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson and others. “Redemption & Ruin” also features guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, guitarist Duane Eddy and others. Devil Makes Three met these artists after performing on tour with them.
“It created a certain amount of pressure, which I think was really fun,” Bernhard said. “We had the pressure of playing these great songs, and then we had the pressure of recording them mostly live with these great musicians. It made the recording of the album somewhat like playing a show where we wanted to make sure that we were doing it justice and make sure that we had a good take because we only had these people for so long. I think that comes across on the recording. Most of it is recorded live, and I hope that we captured that lightning in a bottle and got that on the album.”
The group also encourages feedback from fans, whether it’s feeling out their response to new Devil Makes Three music or having them call in or email the band with questions or comments. Devil Makes Three recently created a phone line and email address where fans can reach out to the band at 1-877-330-8363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
People have left the band questions, played original songs or Devil Makes Three covers or left comments. The idea is to create a podcast soon in which the band can answer these questions, respond to comments and play some of the music of bands they are on tour with, have played with or lesser-known bands that the trio thinks the world should hear.
“I just wanted to do that because it seemed like a great way for our fans to feel like they could get in contact with us directly, Bernhard said. “That’s something that we really feel like it’s important. Our band has really been a band that grew just through fan support. We just had a slow build over the years, just every year, more and more people are coming out to see us and know about us. We really appreciate that.”