From his quivering, sandpapery yelp to his surely quivering liver, Deer Tick's John McCauley exudes the whiskey-soaked recklessness and world-weary lament that you'd expect from a classic rock balladeer. Barely 21, McCauley either grew up between a jukebox and a barstool, or listened to a lot of records by men who did.
A multi-talented musician, McCauley performed every pedal steel wail and drum lick on his first album, War Elephant. Songs like "Not So Dense" echo with lonely guitars and raspy lyrics like "have you ever felt too far gone to be a sinner / but you know yourself too well to ever be a saint / Well it's OK now / the kids are making models of God / out of papier mache."
Though War Elephant was originally released in 2007, the record received such critical acclaim that it's being reissued on CD and limited-edition vinyl on November 11 by Partisan Records. This fall, McCauley solidified Deer Tick's touring lineup, picking up drummer Dennis Ryan, bassist Chris Ryan and guitarist Andrew Tobiassen from his hometown of Providence, R.I. The foursome have polished their aviators and waxed their mustaches for a fall tour that has them opening for acts like Jenny Lewis and The Felice Brothers. Deer Tick's dusty Camaro will be rolling into Garden City on Sunday, Oct. 26, for a rock, country and blues show that's sure to leave a pile of empty tall-boys and angry fathers in its wake.
Sunday, Oct. 26, with Lo-Fi and Hillfolk Noir, 8 p.m., Visual Arts Collective, 3638 Osage St., Garden City, 208-424-8297, visualartscollective.com.