New Audio: The Devil Makes Three’s Cover of A Ralph Stanley Classic

If you’ve been following me and this site over its six year history, you may be familiar with the the Santa Cruz, CA-based bluegrass/alt-folk/alt-country/alt-Americana act The Devil Makes Three. Over the past decade or so, the band comprised of childhood friends Pete Bernhard (vocals, guitar) and Cooper McBean (guitar and banjo), along with Lucia Turino (bass) have been at the forefront of the current bluegrass/folk/roots/Americana music revival. In fact, over the course of four full-length albums and two live albums, the trio have developed a reputation for crafting originally material with a sound and aesthetic that effortlessly (and naturally) bridges bluegrass, folk and punk rock while lyrically covering familiar tropes and themes — dissolution, drunkenness, sin, being down and out and not giving a single fuck about it, deviancy, redemption and repentance and so on. And perhaps more important, the trio have developed a national profile for live sets that can be raucous, stomping burn-burners or intimate, late night jam sessions in a darkened, shitty dive bar or someone’s porch — and sometimes within the same set, depending on the set list for that night.

Interestingly, the band’s forthcoming effort Redemption and Ruin is the first time that the trio has recorded a covers album — but a covers album focusing on 12 carefully hand-picked songs that are meant to introduce both long-term and new fans to the artists and music that deeply influenced the trio for most of their lives. As the band’s Cooper McBean explains in press notes “We’ve been kicking this idea around for a long time. I see it as introducing our fans to the music that influences us. I’m hoping that by listening to this record, people will go back and dig and find the originals.”
Now earlier this month, you might remember that I wrote about Redemption and Ruin’s first single, a slowed-down, twangy, Johnny CashSun Records-era-leaning cover of one of my favorite Muddy Waters tunes “Champagne and Reefer”  that retained the original’s wicked sense of humor and gleeful debauchery. The album’s second single is a cover of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley‘s classic and oft-covered “I Am The Man Thomas,” and as Bernhard told the folks at Relix“‘I Am The Man’ is a gruesome tale of the capture and crucifixion of Jesus sung by none other than the late great Ralph Stanley. It may be the most metal Gospel song ever penned by mortal hand. What better song to include on Redemption And Ruin, This tune has it all, the chase the death and the rise from the grave.” The Devil Makes Three cover is a subtly and deceptively straightforward cover that puts a bit of snarl and muscle into it — while with a deeper emphasis on the gruesomeness and cruelty of the cruxifixction and Jesus’ eventual redemption.

Check out how The Devil Makes Three version differs from the original and check out tour dates below.

Sept 18 – Freshgrass Festival – North Adams, MA
Sept 22 – The Warehouse – Fairfield, CT
Sept 23 – Lupos Heartbreak Hotel – Providence, RI
Sept 24 – State Theater – Portland, ME
Sept 25 – Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre – Montreal, QB Canada
Sept 28 – Opera House – Toronto, ON Canada
Sept 29 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
Sept 30 – The Bluebird – Bloomington, IN
Oct 01 – Roots N Blues BBQ Fest – Columbia, MO
Oct 02 – Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA
Oct 05 – The Wilma – Missoula, MT
Oct 06 – Shadowbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
Oct 07 – Shadowbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
Oct 08 – Roseland Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 09 -Roseland Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 12 – Knitting Factory – Boise, ID
Oct 13 – Pink Garter Theatre – Jackson Hole, WY
Oct 14 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 15 – Riverwalk – Breckenridge, CO
Dec 28 – Veteran’s Memorial Amphitheater – Grass Valley, CA
Dec 30 – The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
Dec 31 – The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 04 – Observatory North Park – San Diego, CA
Jan 05 – Observatory North Park – San Diego, CA
Jan 06- The Wiltern Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Jan 07 – The Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
Jan 08 – Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
Jan 11 – ACM at UCU – Oklahoma City, OK
Jan 12 – Granada – Dallas, TX
Jan 13 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
Jan 14 – White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX
Jan 15 – House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
Jan 18 – 20th Century – Cincinnati, OH
Jan 20 – Orpheum Theater – Madison, WI
Jan 21 – Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
Jan 22 – St. Andrew’s Hall – Detroit, MI
Jan 25 – Anthology – Rochester, NY
Jan 26 – House of Blues – Boston, MA
Jan 27 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
Jan 28 – Theatre of The Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA
Jan 29 – Jefferson Theater – Charlottesville, VA
Feb 01 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
Feb 02 – Music Farm – Charleston, SC
Feb 03 – Venue TBA – Atlanta, GA
Feb 04 – Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN
Feb 09-13 – Avett Brothers at The Beach – Riviera Maya, Mexico