Pay The Devil operates at its own speed. Back in early 2015, the self-dubbed “shantygrass outfit” released Wrong Side Of The River, a debut album that was three years in the making. Close to four years after putting out that record, Pay The Devil is finally ready to follow it up with an album they’ve been working on since 2017. To Hell With Luck is that sophomore record. The band started recording the nine-song effort two years ago. Since releasing Wrong Side Of The River, Pay The Devil brought in a new bass player, but the band’s laid back approach to crafting timeless bluegrass ditties hasn’t changed a bit.

The new record features songs about a bear with a taste for children (“Big Black Bear”), a somber tale of Buffalo Bill (“Buffalo Bill”), and jaunty number about a shipwreck (“Cleveland Town”) that brings the record to a close. Though the whole record is great, three songs stand out. “Country Bound” is a high-energy anthem about leaving the hustle and bustle of the city and letting loose in the sticks. The infectious melody of “Sittin’ Up Here” originated as an inside joke about the elevated background vocal key preferred by a band member, but turned into a full-fledged song after verses were added. “Off My Shoes” features a fast-picking banjo, a howling harmonica, and stomping percussion that seem to match the song’s theme of travel and adventure.

Pay The Devil will release To Hell With Luck on Saturday, March 9. They’ll play a record release show the night before at Walker’s Point Music Hall. S.S. Web, Beaumont James & The Wild Claims, and Eoin McCarthy will play in support. Prior to this weekend’s record release and corresponding show, you can hear three songs from To Hell With Luck below.

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.