10 Albums: Pete Bernhard of Devil Makes Three

By Peter Lindblad

With an earthy blend of dust-bowl blues, folk, touches of bluegrass and country, and a healthy dose of punk attitude that manifests itself in ragtime piano pounding, Devil Makes Three is a product of Pete Bernhard’s influences.

“I come from a family of musicians and weirdo artists for the most part, and for that I am thankful,” says Bernhard.

The 10 albums that changed his life:

Willis Allen Ramsey: Willis Allen Ramsey
Willis Allen Ramsey I didn’t hear until I was introduced to him by Todd Snider in Austin, Texas in 2005. Willis Allen Ramsey only released one album in the ’70s, and although he still plays live, he has never released a second record. Sources say he has been working on the “new” record for years but no one has heard it.

Townes Van Zandt: Live At The Old Quarter
Townes Van Zandt is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. Listening to him taught me that less is more when it comes to lyrics. His songs could be read as poems and sound perfect.

Willie Dixon: The Chess Box
The great Willie Dixon was a gift from my older brother when he learned I liked the blues at around age 11.

Captain Beefheart: Safe As Milk
Captain Beefheart was my first introduction to avant-garde and again this came from my brother. Safe As Milk is Beefheart’s most accessible album, thus the title perhaps, but it is still my favorite.

Doc Watson: Southbound
Doc Watson I first heard directly after high school. Cooper McBean of our band The Devil Makes Three played him for me on a road trip, and I have been listening ever since.

Wu Tang Clan: 36 Chambers
The Wu Tang Clan may seem like a strange choice in this lineup, but if you haven’t heard this record, you should. In my mind it fits in perfectly and I still love it to this day.

The Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
Lightnin’ Hopkins: Lightnin’ Hopkins
I was so young when I heard the Talking Heads and Lightnin’ Hopkins that I can’t even remember it happening. These were albums in the background of my family home, along with The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. My family is largely responsible for my musical taste.

The Stooges: Raw Power
The Stooges were handed down to me from my older sister and brother, like all of my musical taste in those days. They knew I needed to hear it, and they were right.

Steve Earle: Train A Comin’
When I lived in Olympia, Wash., I became friends with a crazy Texas hippie named Spider John. John taught me that there was country music played by living people that was worth listening to, which ultimately lead me to start up The Devil Makes Three and I owe him a thank you for that. The first record he played me that changed my mind about modern country music was Train A Comin’ by Steve Earle.

Bernhard adds, “There are so many great musicians and great records that this hardly seems like a start, but all of these made an impression on me that lasts to this day.”


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