While The Milk Carton Kids most obvious frame of musical reference is the classic folk revival sound of twin acoustic guitars and close harmonies, the band both expand and contradict that rich legacy. The music strikes listeners immediately with its sweet, bluegrass-inflected simplicity, but underneath snakes Pattengales’ sinuous modal guitar lines, sounding for all the world like a jazzified Bert Jansch dropped in to jam with the Everly Brothers. Their harmonies, too, while recalling classic brother duos from the Louvins to the Everlys, achieve a richness that blends into a vivid singularity; Grammy award winning producer and musician Joe Henry writes that “upon first listen I became so seduced by the singular character that emerged from the songs, that I failed to register that there were actually two very different singers giving rise to him.” The effect is heightened for live audiences as they watch Joey and Kenneth effortlessly switch off leads and high and low harmonies, a perfect folk democracy.
Lyrically, The Milk Carton Kids belong to a great tradition from Harry Nilsson to Richard Thompson of marrying stirring melodies to darker imagery. What exactly is happening, for instance, in the elegiac album closer “Memphis,” when “the one time home of soul takes our country’s final breath”? That song, with its heartrending melody and overt retorts to folk-rock icon Paul Simon’s “Graceland” – “there’s no guitar/shines in the sun” – encapsulates the Milk Carton Kids’ ambiguous relationship with the folk past. With these songs’ enigmatic references to absent countrymen, a nation in decline, and that apocalyptic final breath, it’s almost as if Cormac McCarthy took the mike at the Purple Onion to render his novels of other Americas as shimmering songs. This is not your father’s folk music.
Watch The Milk Carton Kids perform an NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” by going to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp0xjVzmKxY
Acclaim For The Milk Carton Kids:
"Bittersweet and beautiful" - San Francisco Chronicle
"A sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals, part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers, with occasional acoustic prestidigitation." - The New York Times
"The Milk Carton Kids transport with heartbreaking understatement. Extraordinary musical facility, both vocal and on vintage guitars, meets humor, smarts and style on an otherwise ordinary stage." - Huffington Post
The Milk Carton Kids Live Dates (opening for Punch Brothers)
11/24 Vancouver, BC - The Chan 11/25 - Seattle, WA – Neptune 11/26 Bend, OR - Tower Theater 11/27 Chico, CA - CSU Chico 11/29 Napa, CA - Napa Valley Opera House 11/30 Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theater 12/1 Los Angeles, CA - Luckman Fine Arts Complex 12/2 San Diego, CA - Belly Up 12/4 Santa Barbara, CA - Lobero Theater 12/5 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent 12/7 Salt Lake City, UT – Depot 12/8 Aspen, CO - Wheeler Opera House 12/9 Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater 12/11 Kansas City, MO - Beamont Club 12/12 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue 12/13 Chicago, IL - The Vic