Posted by boston.com January 14, 2014 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by the me&thee coffeehouse:
On Friday, February 7, the me & thee will welcome back the Caravan of Thieves, a quartet of Gypsy Swinging Serenading Fire Breathing Circus Freaks. If Django Reinhardt, the cast of Stomp and the Beatles all had a party at Tim Burton’s house, Caravan of Thieves would be the band they hired.
Bones of J. R. Jones opens – his music is best described as “haunting stomp blues tempered with a touch of honey.” Doors open at 7:30 PM for this 8:00 PM show. The me & thee coffeehouse is located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead at 28 Mugford Street.
Like many families, this one started with a married couple- Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, 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,” says 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 fiery violinist Ben Dean and double bass madman, Brian Anderson completing their colorful vision. Since then, the four of them ran away from home and never looked back. Within that first year, the Caravan of Thieves began to win immediate praise for their unique blend of gypsy swing and popular music, inspiring them to record and release the debut full- length album Bouquet (2009).
To accompany this collection of dramatic and satirical tales, they built an interactive stage set of percussive junk and the ragtag quartet took their newly animated show on the road. “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,” adds Carrie addressing the palpable troubadorian nature of Caravan Of Thieves, “And this seemed to be a characteristic of popular artists and performers who have developed their persona and style that continue to span generations.”
Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for mesmerizing vocal harmonies and fantastic stories. It’s theatrical and humorous. It’s musical and intense. It entertains, dazzles and defies classification while welcoming the spectator to join the band throughout the performance in momentary fits of claps, snaps and sing-alongs.
“This idea of bringing the street performance to the stage led us to gypsy music and the 1930's swing era as these are free feeling, charismatic performances by real entertainers. With this as the musical backdrop, combined with our fascination with macabre images and sharp-witted sarcasm, we began writing happy sounding pop songs with pretty harmonies, dark thoughts and creepy characters. This all seemed to be a suitable combination. And banging on buckets, frying pans and hubcaps were just crazy and human enough to fit too.”
Born and raised in central New York, in a house at the end of a long dirt road, J.R. Jones started dabbling in music when he was six and his mother mandated – as she did with his older and younger brothers – that he take piano lessons. A self-taught guitar and banjo player, J.R.’s fondness for old gospel hymns, bluesmen like Son House and R.L. Burnside, and artists like The Carter Family and Tom Waits, helped shape his sound. J.R. pulls from a constellation of sensory experiences “the smell of being in an apple orchard first thing in the morning, the sound of boots on old wood floorboards, the feeling of falling asleep to the hum of a fan in the summer, early autumn in the country” that inspires and informs his music.
With a musical style that adeptly toes the line between folksy and sorrowful lullabies to dirty, grainy, blues-influenced songs, J.R.’s voice communicates a level of intimacy and passion that carries with it a quiet sense of loss, yearning, and wanting. Performing on stage with a kick drum, high-hat, and guitar/banjo (as well as the occasional harmonica and kazoo) J.R.’s live shows are visually impressive – a powerful and dynamic display that showcases his musical and emotional range. His songs speak of sorrow and hope, a longing for home, and, he says, “The more unsavory desires and wants in your life – those demons and devils that haunt you.”
Tickets for the performance by Caravan of Thieves with Bones of J. R. Jones opening are $14 in advance and $17 at the door. Student tickets are $10. Tickets are available online at www.meandthee.org and can be purchased in person at the Spirit of ’76 Bookstore or the Arnould Gallery in Marblehead.
The Landing Restaurant at 81 Front Street, Marblehead offers a 10% discount on dinner if you show your ticket or receipt. Enjoy a meal before the show! As at all me & thee coffeehouse events, refreshments are available, including homemade pastries, coffee, and teas. The me & thee has a handicapped-accessible entrance and an accessible bathroom, is a smoke-free environment, and is easily reached by MBTA bus.