THE DEVIL MAKES THREE “Redemption & Ruin”

Friday, 05 August 2016
Maurice Hope

The Devil Makes Three “Redemption & Ruin”

New West Records, 2016

  • Americana steeped in traditional roots.

If you decide not to buy another album than 'Redemption & Ruin' this year, your judgement will not be questioned, so wonderful is the recording of songs covering issues concerning the album title, and beautiful playing by Cooper McBean, Pete Bernhard and Lucia Turino and session musicians taking part. There is every chance I will wear my copy out in record time. All material is imported, ranging from blues masters Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters to songwriting icons Hank Williams, Tom Waits, Townes Van Zandt (all three are renowned for their ability and love to write songs of a dark nature steeped in the blues), Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson plus tunes from Charlie Monroe (“What Would You Give (In Exchange For Your Soul)”, traditional piece “Down In The Valley” and song of celebration “There'll Be A Jubilee)“ and a blues gem that speaks of having a good time. This comes by the way of Hudson Whittaker's swing fashioned “I'm Gonna Get High”.

With The Devil Makes Three playing with great freedom and innovation they ensure the listener, even if they already have versions of the songs, finds a little (and in some case, a heap more) more to savour. What places The Devil Makes Three apart from a good many is the great depth and honesty of their work, and with fluid playing and singing that thrives throughout the listener can't afford to ignore what they do with the material. When it comes to genuine highs you have Johnson's “Drunken Hearted Man”, Muddy Waters' restless, guitar and harmonica powered “Champagne And Reefer” and incredible gospel piece, “I Am The Man Thomas” (Larry Sparks, Ralph Stanley) and the Waits' classic “Come On Up To The House”. I could go on, their version of Townes' “Waiting Around To Die” and sprightly “Down In The Valley” plus Williams' sombre, and at times erie sounding “The Angel Of Death” are likewise excellent. So many textures, swing, blues and country, and with Emmylou Harris, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and Duane Eddy all pitching in, the listener is spoilt for choice.

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