Why The Punk-Fueled Band Deer Tick Is Playing Nashville’s Americana Fest This Year

Sep 13, 2017

Over its 18 years, Nashville’s Americana Fest has consistently shown an inclusive approach. And this year they stretched the boundaries of the genre even more by inviting a band with a folk touch and a punk rock punch.

The band Deer Tick is releasing two separate albums this week featuring the band's split musical personality. On Vol. 1, the song “Doomed From the Start” fits easily into the sounds most associate with Americana.

But flip to Vol. 2 and songs like the Nirvana-influenced “It’s A Whale” are more like a deafening wall of sound. And that's what will await attendees of the Americana Awards as Deer Tick is set to play an official after-party Wednesday night.

The band’s primary singer and songwriter, John McCauley, lives in Nashville. He says he’s excited to play the festival but isn’t sure exactly how to define Americana.

“Yeah, I guess Americana is kind of songwriters that sing their own songs that are influenced by various, American styles of music?” McCauley cautiously states, with a question in his voice. “My understanding of what Americana music is, is … uh, a little shaky."

Looking at the lineup, Deer Tick stands out as possibly an odd fit for the festival, but McCauley says the genre casts a wide net.

“It kind of seems like anybody who plays guitar and writes a song can kind of fit in somehow," he says.

As pop music continues to turn away from guitars, six-string fans may tune increasingly towards Americana to find rock-and-roll refugees like Deer Tick.