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Deer Tick’s John McCauley’s Latest Band: Diamond Rugs

Tuesday, December 20, 2011



Diamond Rugs' new single, just in time for the holidays.

Don’t ever accuse John McCauley of being complacent, because the Providence-based singer/songwriter recently formed his third band named Diamond Rugs. Primarily known as the front man of Deer Tick, McCauley marks his second side project with the formation of Diamond Rugs (he also fronts the indie folk act Middle Brother, which played at this summer's Newport Folk Festival).

So what separates Diamond Rugs from McCauley’s other bands? The answer lies in the diverse and highly regarded musicians, which he has assembled. Joining McCauley in Diamond Rugs is fellow Deer Tick member Robbie Crowell, Ian Saint Pé (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) and Providence native Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite).

A phone call away

Although summoning a super-group may seem like a tough task, Diamond Rugs formed rather organically. All it took was McCauley inviting a couple friends and recruiting others by phone.

Dufresne was on board from the start, because he and McCauley had discussed playing together for years. Next up was St. Pé; followed by Berlin, who McCauley met at a Los Lobos show. Finally, McCauley simply

A glimpse of the band.

asked Deer Tick band mate Crowell to play bass and called up Morris.

“It just kind of fell into place,” said Dufresne. “Things lined up very nicely, as far as getting great players who are also good people to work with and be around in general.”

Ready for release

Diamond Rugs recently finalized a full-length album to be released in Spring 2012, which will be followed by a tour.

Although the LP’s release is four months away, eager listeners can get a taste of the album with its first single “Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant.” Just in time for the holiday season, the track is relatable for those who have ever felt the blues during the holidays. Not your typical festive tune, “Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant” features familiar McCauley themes of alcohol and isolation; driving piano and sultry saxophones.

Despite the song's forlorn nature, Dufresne said that he and McCauley are both “very much into Christmas,” even listening to Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album for an entire summer a couple of years ago.

Is the single indicative of the band’s sound on the upcoming album? Well, the listeners can decide that for themselves according to Dufresne. Here's the cut.

On the road

Diamond Rugs will play their first ever show on December 29th in Atlanta, GA. As for when Rhode Islanders can catch the band; Dufresne urges fans to “be patient.”

How does Diamond Rugs stack up against Deer Tick? Check out two videos: the first was released today and features McCauley just moments after the band recorded "Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant."

The second released earlier this month, features McCauley, unplugged and spontaneous.

John McCauley of Deer Tick - Christmas In A Chinese Restaurant from Rollo & Grady Sessions on Vimeo.

See John McCauley's interview with GoLocal reporter Avery Stone at the Newport Folk Festival, here.


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