Five questions with Caravan of Thieves

Self-described “Gypsy Swingin Serenading Firebreathing Circus Freaks” Caravan of Thieves are no strangers to Asheville. The group has played Bele Chere, The Altamont Theatre and The Grey Eagle. They return to the latter on Friday, March 21, supporting Yarn.

The Bridgeport, Conn.-based band is built around married couple Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, who both play guitar as well as singing and sharing songwriting duties. “In the spring of 2008, Fuzz and Carrie extended their family to include fiery violinist Ben Dean and double bass madman, Brian Anderson completing their colorful vision,” says the band’s Facebook page. “Since then, the four of them ran away from home and never looked back.”

Taking cues from street performance, Caravan of Thieves brings that raucous energy to the stage while also adding elements of ‘30s-era swing, Gypsy jazz, pop and more.

Mountain Xpress: Your bio reads kind of like an adventure map of discovering and absorbing musical styles and genres. How do you keep the mix from getting too muddied — is there an editing process as far as influence is concerned?

Fuzz Sangiovanni: Yes, we have a rigorous editing process, we probably edit more than we write. There is a focused vision of what we want to music to sound like, and funnel the various influences into one space. Some songs may have a little more of one thing but we like to think they all present a similar spirit from one another. We certainly aim for a unified sound.

You mentioned in an interview earlier this year that you’re hoping to get into the studio in March and April and have an album out in the fall. Are you on track for this? Any hints about the new record?

Carrie Sangiovanni: Working on it as we speak! We are in a pre-production phase right now, going through all the material, seeing what needs fixing, rewiring, etc. Just trying to make all the material work together, compliment each other and see what new exciting directions we would like to take the band in. Each album is a new chapter in our creative development and we plan to do some things with this batch of material that we’ve never done before. We are keeping a very open mind with this next record. Hope to have it completed by the end of the spring for a fall release, fingers crossed.

Are you able to write new material while on the road, and what role does a sense of place play in your music? Are you inspired by places you visit?

Fuzz: Writing on the road is challenging due to schedule and privacy but ideas are always being kicked around. Always jotting ideas in a notebook, so if anything, lots of concepts come about, which is how most of the songs start. The music to accompany the song ideas and lyrics is ever-changing and is most often finalized last. But traveling everywhere does inspire us and some pretty interesting song ideas have come from our journeys.

Since you all are on the road so much, do you get to discover a lot of vintage and thrift shops? It seems like that would be key for this particular band. If so, any stand-out shops or discoveries?

Carrie: For sure. Thrift shops, antique shops, you name it. Always seeking new items to wear, use as percussion, decorate with, etc. We have found great stuff in the least suspecting places like Dayton, OH, but Boulder, LA and New York City have all yielded some goodies and of course, lots of great shops right there in Asheville! Maybe we’ll find a new hat or percussion item this time in town?

You’ve played a number of venues and stages in Asheville — what keeps bringing you back? Anything special in store for your upcoming show at Grey Eagle?

Fuzz Just a great music scene in Asheville, one of the best in the country. And it’s not pretentious or cut throat like some of the major music hubs like Nashville, Los Angeles or New York City, so we have always felt welcome and appreciated there. Always had a great time in Asheville. Looking forward to another this month!

Carrie: As for The Grey Eagle, we will probably do a few new songs we are working on for our new album, but since we are just jumping on this show last minute as support, our time is limited. Not sure how much we’ll be able to fit in for this show. Whatever we don’t, we’ll have ready for our next visit.

Caravan of Thieves plays The Grey Eagle on Friday, March 21, supporting Yarn. 9 p.m., $10 advance/$12 day of show.


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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