With a new guitarist and an even newer record, Carousel stays true to its Pittsburgh roots | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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With a new guitarist and an even newer record, Carousel stays true to its Pittsburgh roots

“It’s fun to be both a musical lifer and someone who’s stayed in Pittsburgh.”

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There are many aspects of Carousel’s sophomore release, 2113, that feel pulled wholly out of the 1970s, when rock music was more of a decree by its makers than a conversation with its audience. 2113 speaks to the timelessness of the tried-and-true rock formula of guitars plus bass plus drums.  

Once the dominant genre, Carousel’s hard-rock sound is now niche, though that hardly diminishes the enthusiasm with which its members play it. “With all the people I know who really love and embrace classic rock, you’d actually think there would be more bands that sound like we do. We’re very derivative of that era,” drummer Jake Leger says. Hip or not, the band embraces descriptors that tie it to that era. “We get it: There aren’t a lot of those kind of revivalist bands out there now.” 

2113 captures the band in a transitional moment. Guitarist Chris “Twiz” Tritschler departed amicably in the midst of recording and was replaced by Matt Goldsborough. The addition of Goldsborough, who resides in Philadelphia and also plays in legendary doom outfit Pentagram, forced the band to adjust its work dynamic accordingly. “Honestly, it’s a lot more fragmented since Matt lives in Philly. Whenever Matt is in town, we practice a lot,” Leger says. 

Despite that setback, the new album finds Carousel — which also features singer/guitarist Dave Wheeler and bassist Jim Wilson — in great command of its sound. With a successful run of national and international touring under its belt and the support of a label, Tee Pee Records, it’s easy to wonder whether a move to a hipper market might better serve the band’s ambitions. Carousel doesn’t see it that way. The title of the album, 2113, refers to the address of band’s longtime headquarters. It hints at Carousel’s desire to stay rooted in Pittsburgh, while courting the wider world.

“It’s fun to be both a musical lifer and someone who’s stayed in Pittsburgh. I get to see all the different incarnations of the scene over the years and how music has an arc and all these different great artists come out of Pittsburgh. Some stay, some don’t,” says Leger.

Carousel (left to right: Jim Wilson, Matt Goldsborough, Dave Wheeler, Jake Leger) - PHOTO COURTESY OF NICOLAS LOCKERMAN
  • Photo courtesy of Nicolas Lockerman
  • Carousel (left to right: Jim Wilson, Matt Goldsborough, Dave Wheeler, Jake Leger)

Carousel couldn’t have chosen a better place to set up shop. The band members know how good they have it here. Perhaps due to the city’s blue-collar roots, classic rock has long been synonymous with the Pittsburgh area. The popularity of classic-rock radio stations like WDVE has ensured that hard rock remains ubiquitous across generations. In promoting 2113, the band will realize a longstanding dream of being guests on the WDVE morning show with Randy Baumann. “I’m a huge WDVE dork, and I listen to that every morning, so for us to be on the show is a really big deal for me,” Leger says.

Still, what-ifs will always linger, and successful ventures to places like California give the band an inkling of what life outside of Pittsburgh could mean. “I’ve considered going out there,” says Wheeler. “It’s just so hard to beat Pittsburgh for living, though. You don’t have to murder yourself to have a decent standard of living.”


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