Writer’s Room: John McCauley of Deer Tick

“Being such a Hank Williams fan helps me trim the fat on my own material.”

Deer Tick. L to R: Ian O’Neill, Dennis Ryan, John McCauley, Chris Ryan. Photo by Laura Partain

Between his work with his band Deer Tick and side projects like Middle Brother and Diamond Rugs, John McCauley has established himself over the past decade as one of the most prolific singer-songwriters in folk-rock. On September 15, Deer Tick will release two separate albums (Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2) — one acoustic, and one electric — that show off the wide spectrum of sounds and styles that the Rhode Island-based band has become known for during their rowdy, unpredictable live shows. We recently caught up to McCauley to discuss his songwriting process and his band’s two new records, which mark the longest-ever stretch of time between Deer Tick releases to date.

Has becoming a father changed the way you go about songwriting.

I don’t think so. I don’t feel like anything changed with this record, as far as my songwriting. It’s always been the same. I  just wait until something hits me and then I can’t stop until I’m done. That’s usually the thing: I got to finish the song in one sitting, if I can.

Is there any way to predict when a song will come to you.

It could be at an annoying time where you’ve got to stop everything. And if you’re in the middle of something that you absolutely can’t stop, you just get really frustrated and you hope you don’t forget it. I’ve probably lost a lot of songs that way.

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