Wild Carrot embodies value of traditional music


By Marilyn Delk


Wild Carrot is another name for Queen Anne’s Lace, a wildflower (or weed depending upon your perspective.) Like their namesake, the music performed by Americana duo Wild Carrot can be described as delicate yet simple, and rooted in the solid earth of tradition. I am eagerly anticipating their return to our community when they perform at Arcanum’s Wayne Trail Historical Society, 123 West George Street, on Thursday, April 11, closing Darke County Center for the Arts’ popular Coffee House Series for the 2023-2024 season.

It’s been a while since Pam Temple and Spencer Funk performed locally, but Wild Carrot was more than once part of DCCA’s Arts In Education series, which annually presents high quality artist performing for students in all local school districts. Years later, I recall those performances with delight, and I’ll bet that those now grown-up youngsters who were so well entertained remember them too.

Pam Temple is a redhead who sometimes jokes about the name of their group referring to the color of her hair. Her musical credentials include 10 years of vocal training; during her career, Pam has performed in many diverse venues from coffeehouses to opera houses. I kept in contact with Pam remotely for quite a while, as she was a disc jockey on WNKU, a radio station broadcasting from North Kentucky University that I listed to almost daily until the college unforgivably did away with the station. Her selection of music was impeccable, almost always being something I was delighted to hear whether for the first time or repeating a beloved favorite.

Although always drawn to finger-style guitar, Spencer Funk has studied and performed many styles including jazz, blues, and classical. In demand as a sideman, Spencer also teaches guitar, mandolin, and bass. He met Pam in 1991 at Cincinnati’s old Leo Coffee House when he was managing the place and she sang at an open mic night. After a few years, they decided to join forces as their musical relationship took root and their personal relationship grew.

The couple met through music, married, and began performing full-time together in 2000; they have since crisscrossed the country pleasing audiences with their eclectic mix of music, earning accolades such as the following from National Folk Alliance: “As good a straight-ahead folk group as you’ll hear.” Two times named by the U.S. State Department as Cultural Ambassadors to Chile, Wild Carrot were winners at Walnut Valley New Songs Showcase, and finalists in the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Songwriting Contest. Pam and Spencer have also been named Best Folk Act and nominated for Artist of the Year in their native Cincinnati’s Entertainment Awards.

Wild Carrot concerts have been described as soothing, uplifting and fun all at the same time, with performances that make listeners feel as though they are in conversation with old friends. Their playlist features a wide variety of American Roots music, from jazz and folk songs to swing and show tunes as well as award-winning original music, their beautiful vocal harmonies adeptly accompanied by skillful use of a wide variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, and concertina.

The only negative in this narrative is that if you haven’t already purchased your tickets to see Wild Carrot, you will not be able to attend the show, as it has been sold out for weeks. The Coffee House Series has been extremely well-attended this season, with most shows being filled to capacity, a fitting recognition of the high quality entertainment provided in these popular casual concerts. To learn more, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or on-line at www.DarkeCountyArts.org.

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