music / Columns

Jam Central Station: The Devil Makes Three – Chains Are Broken Review

October 27, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



When it comes to Gothic Americana, no band does it quite like The Devil Makes Three. Since first hitting the scene in 2002, this trio has consistently put out excellent music with thought provoking lyrics that had widespread appeal. They’ve also managed to continue to change things up, adjusting their sound just enough to stay fresh. Their most recent album, Breaking The Chains is another great release that stays true to the sound they’ve cultivated while adding some new elements to make it fresh even for seasoned fans.

This is the band’s first collection of new material in 6 years, so some change was inevitable. There are two very noticable differences with this album. The first is obvious right from the start, and that’s the inclusion of a drummer. While this isn’t an “official” change for the band at this time, and they’ve been touring with a drummer for quite a while, it’s a drastic adjustment when a string band adds a drum kit. The other difference is that many of the punk elements of the band have been softened for this album. The songwriting is less in-your-face but no less powerful. It’s a little odd to me that they would tone down some of their abrasiveness at the same time as adding a drummer, but, once I got used to the new feel of the band, I could see that the DM3 that I’ve loved is still present.

The album has some very distinct styles in the songs. The themes of drinking, depression, making deals with the devil, and playing to lose are all still present, but the themes are often turned around. That starts with the opening title track, where the theme of being set free from the vices that used to plague the band are the focus. This leads to a clearly upbeat song, and fits in the “Redemption” theme of their previous album. This style is also evident on songs like “Can’t Stop,” where Berhard bemoans his previous deals with the devil that he made, “Castles” where he looks to warn others against choices he’s made. It was inevitable that the band would eventually mature beyond their glorification of a life of drinking and drugs, and this is the album where the break is made most clearly.

This isn’t to say that some of the more classic DM3 styles aren’t present on this album. It’s full of plenty of great tracks that take on a darker, although more mature, tone. “Paint My Face” is a mix of the old and new, including the band’s signature 3-part harmony on the chorus. “Need To Lose” sounds like a “new” style song, but clearly focuses on a gambling addict’s need to self destruct. “All Is Quiet” is the “dirge” of the album, in the same vein as the classic “Graveyard,” although without the simplicity of the former tune.

The Devil Makes Three has always made a name for themselves on the road, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with their energetic and powerful songs about life and loss that many can relate to. They are clearly taking a new approach with this album, and, once you settle into it, it works well. While I don’t know that this one has one or two true standout tracks, it’s worth listening to more than once before you form an opinion.



Sweetwater 420 Festival announces lineup
Atlanta’s Sweetwater 420 Festival announced next year’s initial lineup. The festival will once again be held in Centennial Olympic Park and will run from 4/19-4/21. The lineup will include two nights of Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, Rebelution, Moon Taxi, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Turkuaz, and plenty of other great acts.

Lettuce announce tour
Lettuce is currently out on the road, and they just added dates to extend their run into early 2019. The band has some interesting support for these shows as well.

October 25 & 27 – Live Oak, FL – Hulaween
October 30 – Newport News, VA – Boathouse Live
October 31 – Asheville, NC – Salvage Station
November 1 – Greenville, NC – Slate Theater
November 2 – Philadelphia, PA – Fillmore
November 3 – Washington, DC – The Anthem^
November 10 – Denver, CO – Boettcher Concert Hall+
January 10 – Rochester, NY – Anthology Live*
January 11 – Boston, MA – House of Blues*
January 12 – Clifton Park, NY – Upstate Concert Hall*
January 13 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground Ballroom*
January 15 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue*
January 16 – Detroit, MI – St. Andrew’s Hall*
January 17 – Pittsburgh, PA – Rex Theater*
January 18 – Hartford, CT – Infinity Music Hall & Bistro*
January 19 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
January 22 – Harrisburg, PA – Whitaker Center
January 23 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
January 24 – Covington, KY – Madison Theater
January 25 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
January 26 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage

^ with Waka Flocka Flame and Marcus King
+ with The Colorado Symphony
* with Ghost Note

The Claypool Lennon Delirium announce new album
Les Claypool and Julian Lennon will be putting out another album. South of Reality is set for release on February 22, and it looks like they’re already lining up shows in support of the new effort. The first single from the album, “Blood And Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons – Movement II, Too The Moon” is available for streaming.


Suwannee Hulaween
October 25-28
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
The String Cheese Incident, Jamiroquai, Odesza, The Revivalists, STS9, Lettuce, Trampled by Turtles, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Galactic, Turkuaz, The Wood Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead

Hangtown Music Festival
October 25-28
Placerville, CA
Railroad Earth (3 Nights), The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Trampled By Turtles, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe presents Eat a Bunch of Peaches, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, The Infamous Stringdusters, Billy Strings, Pimps of Joytime

Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, MX
The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost Light

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT
Railroad Earth, Infamous Stringdusters, Keller & The Keels, Fruition, Billy Strings, Kitchen Dwellers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

Jam in the Sand
January 15-19
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, The Wailers, Green Leaf Rustlers

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Panic en la Playa Ocho
January 25-29
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Riviera Maya
February 15-17
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Phish in Riviera Maya
February 21-23
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO
Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Billy Strings, The California Honeydrops, Della Mae with Bonnie Paine, Jeff Austin Band, The Shook Twins

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush Band, ALO, Fruition, Billy Strings, Jeff Austin Band, The Travelin’ McCoury’s

Bender Jamboree
April 11-14
Plaza Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Billy Strings

Sweetwater 420 Festival
Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Rebelution, Moon Taxi, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Turkuaz

Lockn’ Festival
August 22-25
Arrington, VA


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!