Micah McCaw’s new EP, “Threads,” has the singer and songwriter talking openly about faith, doubt, guilt and realizations.
On the track titled “Consciousness 201,” he asks, “Is selfishness my scheme? Or can I learn humbleness is the dream?” The inspiration for the song “Dead Vineyard” came from a realization he had about helping homeless people he saw while riding his bike in Medford. Though he felt compelled to share what he could, another part of him kept coming up with excuses, stopping him in his tracks.
McCaw knows this experience is not unique to him.
“I’m not condemning it — just bringing it up as something to think about, because I think about it,” he says during a telephone interview.
The first three songs of the four on “Threads,” all originals by McCaw, push the audience to deal with questions of heartbreaking truths about the world.
McCaw includes a new arrangement of the hymn “Come Thou Font” in an attempt to lift listeners’ spirits at the tail end of the EP.
“The reimagining of the song invites listeners to sing along, while the first three songs break you down,” McCaw says. “They are full of questions with no answers. The hymn at the end is a hint of hope I choose to cling to. I didn’t want to leave people with a despairing notion.”
McCaw will debut “Threads” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, at Rise Coffeehouse, 1123 E. Jackson St., Medford. He’ll be accompanied by Andrew John Lee Tevis on drums, Chris Heisner on bass, and Jeremy Oliveria on synthesizer and guitar. Solo sets by acoustic folk artist Arran Fagan, and rock guitarist and singer Oliveria will open the show.
The group will perform songs from “Threads,” along with music from McCaw’s past releases, with some improvisation and lyrical changes to keep things fresh for seasoned listeners, plus some of McCaw’s unreleased pieces.
The 24-year-old, Medford-based musician’s “Threads” is the newest addition to a discography that includes four earlier EPs as well as a full-length solo album.
A former member of pop band The Seaons and now guitarist for alternative emo-rock band Everett, McCaw has extensive musical involvement to his credit.
His Bible Project, a 10-part series, will eventually include EPs that are one song longer than each of the previous ones, and the same number of minutes as the track number, he says.
“Threads” is not technically a piece of Bible Project, but it marks a progressive point of the devotional folk and blues artist’s career.
“‘Threads’ feels more complete than my earlier works,” he says.
Up until “Threads,” he worked alone on his recordings. This time around he worked with producer Evan Kunze.
“I came up with an idea of what the songs would sound like, but Evan had a lot of great ideas,” he says. “The outcome was a lot better than what I originally thought it would be.”
McCaw also collaborated more with other musicians on the EP’s songs than on previous ones. Having the help with musical composition and arrangements was a bit challenging for him at first, but he soon realized the benefits.
“Songwriting, vocals, arrangement, guitar parts, I thought I could come up with all of it,” he says. “Now the more I play music, the more I find other musicians can make a song better.”
Drummer Tevis, bassist Heisner and Sean Siders (Seaons) on synthesizers make appearances on the EP.
“When I was younger, of course, there was the dream of being the best musician in the world,” McCaw says. “As I’ve gotten older, I try to take it one step at a time.”
Having been a part of a few bands since adolescence, he measures his musical success these days as a journey on which he can relish each moment for what it is, rather than comparing himself to others.
“I’ve come out with a lot of music and played shows I’m proud of,” he says. “Right now I’m really stoked about this EP.”
Hear songs on “Threads” and McCaw’s other works at micahmccaw.bandcamp.com. “Threads” and other merchandise can be purchased at micahmccaw.com.