As The Milk Carton Kids, singer/songwriters Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were working as solo artists when they joined forces and, much like Mentos in Diet Coke, their collaboration caused magic to happen. The Milk Carton Kids sound is reminiscent of acoustic guitar-driven folk harmonies of duos like Simon & Garfunkel and the Everly Brothers. But, Pattengale and Ryan’s music is stealthily contemporary ” adding lush melodies to modern stories richly complimenting each other. Matt Watroba sat down to chat with Pattengale and Ryan at Folk Alliance 2013.
While The Milk Carton Kids’ most obvious frame of musical reference is the classic folk 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 snake Pattengale’s 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. Their new album is The Ash & Clay, released on Anti Records.