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Stomp and Smash (Live at the Mystic Theatre)

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Album Review

This is the second live outing for the Devil Makes Three, a worthy follow-up to A Little Bit Faster and a Little Bit Worse, their ironically titled first live set. The sound quality on Stomp and Smash is a lot crisper than it was on A Little Bit Faster, probably the result of having some major-label bucks to put into the recording and mastering, but it doesn't take anything away from the band's ragged, free-for-all performance. The crowd sounds like it's out of control, and sings along with the band on its favorite songs. The Devil's trademark ragtime rhythms keep the tunes moving at a blazing pace and all three members take turns dropping concise, propulsive solos into the mix. The material is taken from all four of their previous albums and includes three tunes they've never recorded before. Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" is taken at a galloping tempo with Cooper McBean's clawhammer banjo adding strong rhythm accents to Pete Bernard's guitar and Lucia Turino's driving acoustic bass. "This Life," another tale of the mishaps of a traveling band, features a low-key electric guitar solo from Bernard that keeps the energy high. The tongue-in-cheek lyric catalogs a series of disasters, but the vigorous performance makes it a jubilant romp. "They Call That Religion" features longtime pal Chojo Jacques on fiddle and deals with the sexual and financial peccadilloes of various religious figures. It's another exuberant tune with a memorable chorus: "They call that religion, but he'll go to hell when he dies." ~ j. poet, Rovi


Formed: 2002 in Santa Cruz, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

As a drummerless acoustic trio consisting of two guitarists and a string bassist, the Devil Makes Three are not your normal alt-country band. While deeply rooted in the blues and country music, they enthusiastically incorporate elements of bluegrass, ragtime, and jug band traditions as well. The group also makes no bones about its punk rock influences, and despite the lack of a drummer, it always plays with the needs of dancers in mind. Although the Devil Makes Three consist entirely of New Englanders...
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