When people grouse about Mumford & Sons and swear there are more interesting bands working in Americana these days, they’re referring to acts like the Devil Makes Three. Without claiming to be, this California trio, which took root in Brattleboro, Vt., is the anti-Mumford. Their acoustic music crackles with an old-timey sense of swing and sophistication while sounding thoroughly down-home. Lead singer-guitarist Pete Bernhard, upright bassist Lucia Turino, and guitarist-banjo player Cooper McBean give the impression that they gathered to jam and there just happened to be a single microphone in the room. It’s not nearly as archaic as that, of course, but “I’m a Stranger Here” does have a loose-limbed vibrancy that mimics the intensity of their live shows. Produced by Buddy Miller, the album ranges from thumping barn-burners (“Worse or Better”) to jubilant country-gospel (“Hallelu”) to dreamy folk ballads (“Goodbye Old Friend”). (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “Worse or Better”
The Devil Makes Three comes to House of Blues on Nov. 22, with Shakey Graves opening.