Cincinnati Americana duo Wild Carrot returns with ‘Between the Darkness & the Light’

Pam Temple and Spencer Funk celebrate their first album since 2010 on April 22 at Leo Coffeehouse.

click to enlarge Wild Carrot's 'Between the Darkness & the Light'
Wild Carrot's 'Between the Darkness & the Light'

Before “Americana” became a buzzword for the broad spectrum of American Roots music, Wild Carrot’s music exemplified it. Singers/multi-instrumentalists Pam Temple and Spencer Funk have been making music that lovingly and gracefully combines elements of vintage and contemporary Folk, Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass and other Roots stylings since the late ’90s, officially releasing their first album, Defined, in 1999. That’s also around the time Temple began her tenure at WNKU, the beloved Northern Kentucky radio station that ceased operations last year. Temple hosted shows like the live Studio 89 performance series and The Front Porch, on which she played a diverse mix of Roots music similar to what’s contained within the Wild Carrot sound.

Along the way, Wild Carrot (which, when expanded with other musicians and singers beyond the duo format, is billed as “Wild Carrot and Their Roots Band”) has received numerous accolades, toured the country, were designated Folk Music Ambassadors by the U.S. State Department twice and released four albums, including a swinging full-length collaboration with Jazz artist Hank Ross featuring several NYC Jazz players.

Wild Carrot recently returned to the CD bin (the digital version is coming soon) with Between the Darkness & the Light, its fifth album and first release since 2010’s Live: Crowd Around the Mic. The new album is a wonderful display of Temple’s songwriting prowess, which is at peak strength on tracks like the silky, flowing “Talking with Ghosts,” “Now I Fly,” the billowy “Cold December Day” and “(The Power of a) Pancake Breakfast,” a homey ode to things like community and interrelatedness that is particular resonating in our digital age. The album also includes a few covers, including fantastic versions of songs by two of Wild Carrot’s more obvious influences — Emmylou Harris (“Red Dirt Girl”) and Joni Mitchell (“A Case of You”).

Beyond the writing and top-notch arrangements, Between the Darkness & the Light also includes some excellent performances from Temple and Funk, as well as musicians like Brad Myers, David Archer and Their Roots Band’s Suzanna Barnes and Andrew Williams. The album also sounds fantastic, with the production (it was largely recorded with Archer and Noah Diamond at Cincinnati’s Last Riff Studio) bringing forth the songs’ natural, lush warmth.

The official hometown release show for Between the Darkness & the Light is Sunday, April 22 at Leo Coffeehouse, the longtime Folk/Roots music showcase hosted by the Queen City Balladeers (featuring open mics, jam sessions, songwriting workshops and more) where Temple and Funk first met in 1991. The Sunday showcase is currently held at Zion United Church of Christ (2301 Indian Mound Ave., Norwood, zionchurchucc.org). Showtime this Sunday is 6:30 p.m. For more on Leo Coffeehouse events, visit queencityballadeers.org.

Wild Carrot and Their Roots Band will also perform a free morning show on April 20 on the Middletown campus of Miami University.  Part of the school’s “Fantastic Free Fridays,” the 10 a.m. appearance at Dave Finkelman Auditorium (4200 N. University Blvd., miamioh.edu/regionals) is described as an interactive performance,” as the group performs and discusses American Roots music over the last century.

Get more on Wild Carrot at wildcarrot.net and facebook.com_wildcarrotmusic.


Contact Mike Breen with Cincinnati music info at [email protected]

 

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