Among successful touring musicians, there’s famous and then there’s accessibly famous. John Vanderslice alternates between producing records for headlining bands (the Mountain Goats, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, to name a few) and answering customer emails at his Tiny Telephone recording studios in San Francisco. Just three months after playing a packed show with a 35-piece ensemble and choir at San Fran’s Herbst Theatre, Vanderslice lands in Winter Park tonight for a solo set at McRaney’s Tavern, of all places. Vanderslice’s own music is emotionally raw, lyrically cryptic and, of course, expertly produced. His songs are about mysterious adventures, sometimes while on moonlit, snowy trails, sometimes while dodging cops and grappling with a distressing, violent society. His eighth full-length album, White Wilderness, was recorded last year with the Bay Area’s Magik*Magik Orchestra, but this short swing through Florida gives tavern audiences a chance to examine the songwriter and his lyrics up-close. Right up-close. Often called “the nicest guy in rock,” Vanderslice tells OW that he loves playing solo because “I can take requests and go off the rails as much as I like.” It’s OK if his lyrics leave you pondering life’s great questions; he’s coming to help you sort them out over a glass of Jai Alai IPA. – Dave Plotkin (with the Pauses; 8 p.m. at McRaney’s Tavern, 1566 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; $10; 407-622-4474; mcraneystavern.com)
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