The Fred Wickham Caravan blends country, soul and rock and roll into a sound that can only be called pure Americana. Comprised of some of Kansas City’s finest roots musicians, the Caravan originally formed to support Wickham’s 2017 solo release Mariosa Delta. Produced and recorded by the late, great Lou Whitney in Springfield, Missouri, the album received widespread critical acclaim both nationally and abroad. No Depression called Mariosa Delta “a sparkling gem of an album…a great record, part document, part tragedy, all heartbreak,” while PopMatters said the album was “reminiscent of rambling folk and country legends like Dylan and Cash.”
Mariosa Delta featured Wickham’s longtime musical cohort Richard Burgess on upright and electric bass. In the late 90s and early 2000s Wickham and Burgess made up half of the Kansas City roots rock outfit, Hadacol, who, along with Wickham’s brother Greg, recorded two critically acclaimed albums and toured extensively across the nation. Greil Marcus, writing for Salon, once called the band’s brand of country “so tough they don’t have to prove it.”
For the Caravan, Wickham and Burgess have recruited some of their favorite musicians and best friends to form a six-piece band capable of jumping from one musical style to the next while maintaining a sound that is all their own. Guitar legend Marco Pascolini lends his unmistakable stylings on electric and pedal steel guitar. Cowboy Bart Colliver, Kansas City’s most soulful keyboardist, adds accordion and great harmony vocals. Matt Brahl, one of KC’s finest drummers and an old friend who actually played with Wickham and Burgess during the final days of Hadacol, jumped right in after original drummer Sam Platt departed. Rounding out the ensemble is Wickham’s son, Fred Jr., who had become an accomplished mandolin player while no one was watching.
The Fred Wickham Caravan spent two years playing dates across the Midwest promoting Mariosa Delta, all the while consistently developing new material. In late 2019 the band travelled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record with Grammy winning producer and engineer Jimmy Nutt. The band has released three video singles from the upcoming album, “Town Without Soul”, about a place where everything seems normal, but something just ain’t right, “Fatbird”, a sardonic swipe at everyone’s least favorite Twitter user, and “If We Ever Happened”, which questions the reality of a past secret relationship. The videos mark the premiere productions of the Pascolini Bros., Carlo and the band’s guitarist, Marco. The full album, Town Without Soul, comes out October 2021 on Black Site.