If there was a soundtrack album for a summer solstice party in hell — this album would be it. I‘m a Stranger Here combines dixieland, old-time americana and bourbon in the pits of hell, which is heaven for fans.
The Devil Makes Three is rooted in Santa Cruz, California, and I’m a Stranger Here is the band’s fourth full length album, and their first for New West Records.
The Devil Makes Three is a trio (of course!) consisting of guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, and guitarist and tenor banjo player Cooper McBean.
The core band is joined here by Nashville legend Buddy Miller, who sits in the producer’s chair for this album. Under his direction the album was recorded not in his infamous home studio, but in Dan Auerbach’s (of Black Keys fame) Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville. This helps give the album its distinct signature sound.
“Easy Eye is like Sun Records,” Bernhard says via the band’s website. “There’s one live tracking room filled with amazing gear, and that defines the kind of record you’re going to make. That was exactly the record we wanted to make, and we knew Buddy was the one who could capture us playing together like we do.”
Over 20 tracks were written for the album, and Miller was able to cull that down to 10 of the best and most darkest.
The album definitely has a live-off-the-floor kind of feel — opening tracks like “Stranger” and “Worse or Better” help to set the tone straight from the get-go. I love the approach to percussion — a stomp on the barn boards, spoons and the smack of steel — it sounds like they bang on just about anything if you listen closely enough to the mix.
“Forty Days” has hints of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band steeped with a darker side.
There is some humour on “Hellelu”: “…praise the lord and pass the ammunition too. They say Jesus is coming — he must be walking, he sure ain’t running. Who could blame him, look how we done him — Hallelu!” goes the chorus in this catchy track.
“A Moment’s Rest” and “Goodbye Old Friend” are some beautiful down tempo ballad-type tracks that really round out this album. Who knew the devil had such a sensitive side? Go figure.
My only negative comment about this album is that it is too short! With a run time of about 34 minutes, this album really leaves you wanting more.
Check out I’m a Stranger Here on iTunes.
I‘m a Stranger Here is combines dixieland, old-time americana and bourbon in the pits of hell, which is heaven for fans.