BEGGARS AND THIEVES (2010)
"It's a celebration. A coming-of-age of sorts," explains Carmen Sclafani about Wiser Time's latest release, Beggars And Thieves. "It's the first album that I've done where I truly feel at ease with myself in the studio and with a band."
It comes as a bit of a surprise to read when you consider just how far Sclafani has come since introducing Wiser Time to audiences in 2005, and what has taken him to places across the United States as well as abroad with often little more than a guitar slung across his shoulder. Perhaps it's that very journey that has created that sense of ease and given Beggars And Thieves a stark contrast in sound from previously recorded Wiser Time records.
That sound in most cases is a stripped down, rootsy account of the places Wiser Time has been, and told in a such a way that would be better suited from some back porch with a bottle of bourbon and some close friends. It's the sound of America's roots.
"These are stories from the road, and some deeply personal moments," says Sclafani about the nine tracks that are Beggars And Thieves. "I think the songs are gonna make people feel like they're sitting right there next to me or the band in the car or motel."
In some cases people were literally, right there when the album was recorded at a friend's studio in Brooklyn, NY. For three days, the band was surrounded by friends and musicians to take part in, and celebrate what has become Wiser Time.
"I wanted to share this with people who have supported me from the beginning and have watched it all evolve," says Sclafani. "This record is really the end of a period in my life and the beginning of another, so to be able to celebrate it with so many people is something really wonderful."
And celebrate they did, capturing the true spirit of rock n roll that seems to have long since disappeared in these days when so many bands seem to prefer to use technology or the isolation of home recording to create music.
"We wanted to be together for the whole thing and just get into the whole vibe of it," recalls Sclafani. "We were up all hours, having a great time, crashing on moving blankets and trying any idea that came to mind."
So if this is in fact a new beginning of sorts for Sclafani and the band, perhaps it's only fitting that Wiser Time's latest release takes listeners back in time to the sounds of traditional American roots. Like troubadours of old and for a brief moment in time, living like beggars and thieves.
- by Rachel Irimescu