Tune in each week as The Temple News highlights a touring band that has made its mark on the city.
John McCauley is the singer and guitarist for a self-proclaimed rock-and-roll band that has managed to steadily increase in popularity despite the changing times, filled with critical bloggers and music snobs. His band, Deer Tick, recently released its third album, “The Black Dirt Sessions,” and is nearing the end of its tour in support of the album.
McCauley has been the only stable member of Deer Tick since the band’s 2005 inception as a solo project. After a year of touring, McCauley assembled a band around himself, and Deer Tick was born. The band plays a variety of folk-infused music that contains a perfected fitted voice that’s a cross between Paul Westberg and The Tallest Man on Earth.
McCauley was not shy in divulging his musical influences, explaining the band is inspired by bands ranging from The Beatles to Tom Petty. It’s not uncommon for Deer Tick to cover a multitude of songs, including Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” The Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait” and Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls.”
But the band hardly relies on covers. Each of the three albums in Deer Tick’s discography so far has its share of original songs, such as the feasibly gentle “20 Miles” or the barn burner that is “Baltimore Blues No. 1.”
When the band toured in Philadelphia earlier this year, opening for Dr. Dog at the Electric Factory, the band’s performance was raw and ragged, with touches of reminiscing power. The show took place in April 2010, so the band was still preparing its release of “The Black Dirt Sessions,” which came out in June.
McCauley explained that “The Black Dirt Sessions” and the band’s previous album, “Born on Flag Day,” weren’t recorded at the same time.
“[I have] no idea why everybody thinks that,” McCauley said. “The Internet is so dumb.”
Deer Tick, in its various lineups, has played Philadelphia approximately 22 times, so the band’s 23rd show at the venerable First Unitarian Church on Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. should not be missed.
In the tradition of the famous old-party bands, once Deer Tick gets the audience members on their feet, don’t sit down again. The band members know how to get down, and they’re not afraid to take the opportunities they are given – something that is exemplified through their energetic stage presence and boldness to stick to their true selves.
Plus, Deer Tick isn’t afraid to close the show with a cover of “La Bamba,” McCauley said.
Kevin Stairiker can be reached at email@example.com.