The gypsy-swinging, serenading four-piece band Caravan of Thieves spends most of the year playing large music festivals and big-city concerts nationwide, but always finds time in their busy schedule for a stop in Brookings.
“It’s like an oasis in the middle of our tour; the people are lovely, the area is beautiful,” said singer/guitarist Carrie Sangiovanni.
Her husband Fuzz, who sings and plays guitar and percussion, is more succinct.
“We love Brookings!” he said.
The couple, along with bandmates Brian Anderson, double bass, and Benjamin Dean, violin, performed two sold-out concerts in Harbor last year.
They return to the area on Saturday, Oct. 5, for an intimate, unplugged concert at the oceanfront home of Misty and Gary Young. (See IF YOU GO.)
During previous visits to the area, the band members spent several days before or after their shows staying with the Youngs, who treated them to home-cooked meals and private sight-seeing trips to local beaches and hiking trails.
“We are always eager to have them; they are awesome people and we always have a great time,” Misty said.
The friendship between Caravan and the Youngs started in April 2012, when the couple were asked by Brookings’ Stagelights Musical Arts Community to host a concert in their oceanfront home.
“We always like to support the local arts, so we looked up the band online and thought ‘these look like nice, young people and they play good music’,” Misty said. “We decided to go out on a limb and host the concert.”
The event, which included a potluck with the band, attracted more than 65 people.
“It was a great show and people are still talking about it,” Misty said.
The band returned for a show in November of 2012, this time playing a sold out concert at the Harbor Performing Arts Center. Again, the band stayed at the Young’s home, taking a few days off during a hectic West Coast tour.
“We really do get the royal treatment when we stay with Misty and Gary; they are wonderful,” Fuzz said.
Forming a Caravan
Caravan of Thieves has become widely known for its mesmerizing vocal harmonies and wacky sense of humor, often encouraging fans to join in the performance with intervals of clapping, snapping and singalongs.
Before finding success, Caravan began with a married couple — Fuzz and Carrie —writing and performing as a duo.
“It started as a romantic, bohemian vision of a couple making music, performing on the road, in parks, venues, traveling around and avoiding responsibility as much as possible,” said Fuzz. “The first thing we discovered was we loved singing together, harmonizing our voices. Just seemed to click right away.”
In the spring of 2008, Fuzz and Carrie extended their family to include Dean and Anderson. Soon after, the four musicians hit the road in their white panel van, crisscrossing the nation and gaining immediate praise for their unique blend of gypsy swing and popular music. Since then, they have released three full-length CDs containing both original and cover material.
“The years spent making music as an acoustic duo, alongside street performers, forced us to create a style of music we can present anywhere, anyhow, plugged in or not, a little wild and raw,” said Carrie.
Think of Caravan of Thieves as an acoustic Gogol Bordello, an American Crooked Fiddle Band, or jazz improvisation sped up and dosed with musical steroids. Or, as the groups put it, “If Django Reinhardt, the cast of ‘Stomp,’ and The Beatles all had a party at Tim Burton’s house, we would be the band that they hired,” Carrie said.
Caravan of Thieves started with a love story, and now it continues to be one that has taken on a life of its own.
“What I always come back to when we’re on the road, and we play a show — at the end of the night everybody’s smiling,” Carrie said. “And it feels awesome to be able to do what you love and actually have other people love it with you, and make them happy with that. I think that’s one of the most rewarding parts of it.”