Last Sunday, California’s The Milk Carton Kids made their debut on the 39th season of Austin City Limits. Though I wasn’t familiar with this up-and-coming band’s music, they ended up blowing me away. In fact, they captivated the entire audience. The duo played acoustic guitars and huddled around a single microphone. It was the quietest show I’ve seen at the Moody Theater, but each song was punctuated with a roaring round of applause.
The Milk Carton Kids are Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. Their voices blended beautifully together and their indie, folksy style of music is, at times, reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel. While their two voices harmonized in unity, Kenneth and Joey brought their own style to the performance. Kenneth’s impeccable talent on the guitar was highlighted by his incredibly fast picking. And, surprisingly, Joey had the crowd rolling in laughter between songs with his spot-on deadpan humor. My favorite kind of humor. It was like a concert and stand-up comedy show in one!
The duo’s set list was a mix of songs from their latest album The Ash and Clay (released earlier this year on ANTI-) as well as their 2011 releases Prologue and Retrospect. Even though the band is based in California, their music tells stories of elsewhere in songs such as “Memphis,” “Michigan,” and “New York.” For their final song, The Milk Carton Kids brought up Sarah Jarosz and her band because, as they stated, “Years Gone By” sounded better as a five-piece. Sarah was also filming for Austin City Limits that evening and the two groups had spent the previous week touring around Texas together. They sounded so beautiful that I could tell that the bands had grown fond of each other.
Here’s a photo I snuck from rehearsals…
Hope of a Lifetime
The Ash and Clay
Girls, Gather Round
I Still Want A Little More
Years Gone By
– Submitted by Jessica Reed, Social Media