Americana trio The Devil Makes Three to bring high-energy performance to downtown State College

Americana trio The Devil Makes Three takes the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday at The State Theatre.
Americana trio The Devil Makes Three takes the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday at The State Theatre. Photo provided

Americana trio The Devil Makes Three takes the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday at The State Theatre.

Singer/guitarist Pete Bernhard is excited about their tour and upcoming album.

“We’re going to be playing a lot of songs off of our new record, which is not out yet,” Bernhard said. “ ... We’re going to be having some guest musicians out. We’re going to be playing some new material and kind of road testing our new songs on the crowd.”

Bernhard said the album will be out in either late summer or early fall.

The tour will keep the band on the road for the next few months.

“We’re really just at the beginning of it. So far it’s great,” Bernhard said. “I guess, talk to me at the end. (laughs) It’s really exciting. We’re doing our first headlining at Red Rocks in Colorado, which is a pretty big deal for us. We played there twice before, maybe three times, but we’ve never headlined. It’s going to be huge. That’s how the tour ends ... at Red Rocks. So, it’s a pretty awesome ending for the tour.”

Life on the road may be hectic, but Bernhard and company have learned to take it in stride.

“Basically, we’re going to go on this tour. Then we’re announcing the record at Red Rocks,” Bernhard said. “Then, we’ve got about three weeks off, and we go to Europe for about a month. ... We haven’t done (the festivals in Europe) before, so that’s very cool.”

The band has released four albums since its debut self-titled LP in 2002.

“Well, me and Cooper (Mcbean, guitarist/banjoist) went out to Olympia, Wash., to start a band with a friend of ours in the late ’90s,” Bernhard said. “And, that didn’t end up working out so we started playing as a duo. We went down to Santa Cruz to do a little tour, and then our car broke down in Santa Cruz. Well, Lucia’s (Torino, upright bassist) car broke down. We already knew her from Vermont and borrowed her car for the rest of the tour. When we came back, we decided to move to Santa Cruz. So, we started playing with Lucia, and we put out our first record. We’ve been going ever since.”

The Devil Makes Three have played State College before, but the memories may seem a bit hazy.

“We have (been there) before, yes,” he said. “We had a pretty great show there, but to be honest it was sort of a long time ago. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was a sold-out show. I remember the audience being wild. I don’t really remember it too clearly (laughs).”

A deep affinity for classic Americana music has led Bernhard to his path. If he could, he’d go back in time to work with some of his idols.

“If I could go back to the heyday of Sun Records, I would love to make a record out of Sun with (someone like) Sam Phillips,” he said. “I’d love to make a record with all those great guys who played for Johnny Cash, early Elvis stuff, Muddy Waters and all the great people who recorded in that style during that time period. I think I’d also like to go the heyday of the Chess Records era, too. I’d love to record with some of the old country people too, obviously. I think I could die happy. (laughs) It was such a great time to make records, too. Like, if we were making records with them, we’d go into a room and play with them, and they would record it. That would be the album. That’s the style of recording we still try to do. That’s how we did our last record and the one before. We really like to keep the style, that live style and capture what we’re doing in that room.”

Bernhard promises an energetic live show from the band; one that fans of the records definitely should not miss.

“With our band, we’ve always been a live band,” Bernhard said. “We’ve always toured a lot; we’ve always loved to play live. We always do everything we can to make our live show a really high-energy experience. I think people listening to our records are not going to get the same experience as us live. ... We have a lot of fun doing it. Also, you get to hear pretty much everything at least double time from the speed on the record. (laughs) It’s hard to help. If you’re having a good time, that’s just what happens. It’s a different experience from listening to our records. That’s why we’ve continued to put out live recordings. We’re going to do that actually, too. After releasing our new record, we’ll be releasing a lot of live material too, on our own label. We’re going to be recording this tour, and we recorded the tour before this. We’re going to compile the best stuff and put it out.”


  • What: The Devil Makes Three
  • When: 9 p.m. Saturday
  • Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
  • Info: thestatetheatre.org