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Devil's in the Details

Pete Bernhard, guitarist with the Santa Cruz-based The Devil Makes Three, says you’ll hear all kinds of old-timey music on his band’s latest release, Redemption and Ruin.

“We tried to choose a little bit of everything,” he tells me over the phone. “Some gospel, some folk songs, some old-time stuff, some country music.”

In the rhythm section, you’ll hear what sounds like a trashcan lid. “There were some junk drums for sure,” Bernhard says. “Weird things like hubcaps, stuff like that. If it seemed like it sounded right on the tune, we used it.” 

Bernhard recalls his dad and his brother helping him discover blues and old rock ’n’ roll, the kind of stuff TDM3 has metabolized into a junkyard boogie style all their own.

“My brother, once he knew I was into it, he bought me a bunch of old blues records," he says, "the collected works of Chess Records, everything Robert Johnson ever recorded.” What appealed to Bernhard was the honesty in the songwriting.

“I just loved it right away,” he says. “When I heard those artists, I wanted to learn how to play that music. I’m not really sure why. It always struck me as rhythmically interesting. Songwriting-wise, the approach was really simple.”  

Appearing in Eugene with TDM3 is Austin, Texas, country-punker Scott H. Biram. Biram is touring behind this year’s The Bad Testament, itself a conflagration of country blues, hellfire religion, hard-drinking Waylon Jennings-style trucker country and a punk-rock whiskey hangover — like hanging out in the garage with some mythological granddad, smelling his cigs and flipping channels on his FM radio while he works on an old American-made car. 

The Devil Makes Three plays with Scott H. Biram and Ditrani Brothers 8:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 9, at the McDonald Theatre; $29.50 advance, $32 door, all-ages. — Will Kennedy