Spirit Caravan's Scott "Wino" Weinrich's guitar tone evinces the slow burning wisdom derived from many decades of hard living and touring in the underground music community. In the wake of the breakup of his previous outfit, Obsessed, due in part to a soured major-label record deal, Wino found himself living in Southern California, burned out and broke. Realizing that drastic changes were certainly in order -- legend has it -- he picked up his only possession, a Les Paul guitar, and boarded a Greyhound bus back East to his hometown of Washington, D.C., to sort out his life. Whether merely apocryphal or not, the story illustrates Wino's hard-as-nails, driven to the marrow modus operandi regarding the creation of music.
Spirit Caravan began in 1996, playing gigs in the Maryland area initially under the name Shine. Drummer Gary Isom and bass player Dave Sherman rounded out the lineup, both of whom Wino had known for many years. After some coaxing, Wino, who had been deeply embroiled in the thankless task of reassembling both his personal and musical career, became amenable to jamming old Obsessed tunes just for fun. Quite clearly, that blossomed into a full-fledged band. While Spirit Caravan's sound isn't drastically different from the aforementioned Obsessed, who welded the foot-stomping organic qualities of Grand Funk Railroad with no-frills American roots punk like the Dictators, all the while observing Black Sabbath, Spirit Caravan injected a healthy dose of cryptic psychedelia to the mix.
In 1997, the band recorded its first vinyl EP entitled Lost Sun Dance. Shortly after, they were met with a cease and desist order from another outfit using the moniker Shine and re-emerged after some brainstorming as Spirit Caravan. In 1999, the trio issued two recordings, the album Jug Fulla Sun, and the CD-EP Dreamwheel, the former on Fugazi member Joe Lally's Tolotta Records. After extensive U.S. and European touring, the band recorded and released its sophomore effort, Elusive Truth, in 2001. ~ Patrick Kennedy