[20 August 2009]
The Devil Makes Three hail from Santa Cruz, California, concocting its own kind of junk blues. Pete Bernhard fronts the jug-band rock and hootenanny rompers as though he’s a hillbilly rapper with the gift of phrasing. On Do Wrong Right, the band sticks to classic roots sounds while painting an image of misbehaving (in rock ‘n’ roll fashion) in many forms. Bernhard pens most of the tracks, and the group also tackles such covers as Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” and, oddly enough, a pretty nifty version of Elvis Costello’s “Cheap Reward”. “Gracefully Facedown”, written and sung by guitarist and banjoist Cooper McBean, details the events of getting wasted during a deep depression. The peppy and jaunty swagger of the arrangement belies sentiments like, “Well you’ll find me downtown / Gracefully facedown / Just wishing I could feel all right.” Surprisingly, the lack of drums is rarely noticeable, as upright bassist Lucia Turina’s plunking, Bernhard’s tambourine and McBean’s chunking guitar sound negate the need for any further percussion. Additional instrumentation, such as harmonica, lap steel, fiddle and “dinosaur sounds” are provided by guest musicians (Keith Cary and Andy Lentz) to round out the down-home dance party.