Ask Pete Bernhard, the guitarist and lead singer for The Devil Makes Three, what surprised him most about the band’s recently released album I’m A Stranger Here, and he’ll tell you how easy the experience was.
“Buddy Miller is not a really heavy-handed producer, so [making the album] was actually really easy,” Bernhard says. “It ended up working out really well and was not hard to do at all. I think it was actually easier than self-producing. We recorded the whole record in maybe a week and a half. We were all a bit nervous playing with a bunch of musicians we’d never played with before, but so many great people worked on the record, it just happened really quickly.”
Like previous efforts, Stranger is chock full of upbeat music that is juxtaposed against more weighty material — a tricky balance to strike. One minute you have the whirlwind-inducing ragtime number “Spinning Like a Top,” and the next you are treated to a delightful riff on old vocal gospel songs with numbers like “Hallelu.” The band is all about keeping you on your toes, both literally and with regard to the content.
“It’s a traditional thing to do in folk music and bluegrass, those traditional musical forms, blues as well,” Bernhard says. “There’s always a lot of social commentary and political critique, as well as gospel, religion or whatever mixed in. I figure it’s an opportunity to say things that maybe people aren’t hearing, but also, we love playing upbeat stuff that is fun live.”
The Devil Makes Three plays with The Brothers Comatose 8:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 28, at McDonald Theatre; $20 adv., $25 door.