Their songs disguise the youth of the members of the band. Befittingly, so do the old guitars they play and old clothing they wear. But to be sure, The Milk Carton Kids have something new to present: harmonies & minimalist instrumentation which are a clear reference to times passed, but with an eye intently on the future; a perspective on coming-of-age in the eye of a present-day storm; and the chronicling of an American struggle for simplicity, at least musically. To present it they use two guitars and two voices, they labor over the arrangements, they record themselves live, and they release their music on their own label, and for free.
A performance by The Milk Carton Kids is a quiet and intricate affair. Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan have enjoyed intently listening audiences across the country and abroad in their respective solo careers, but an even greater sense of urgency and demand of attention is palpable now that they've come together as The Milk Carton Kids. Their songs are written together, but you won't know there is more than one author. Their history together spans only one short year, but you won't know that either. They stand close together when they play, facing each other and using microphones instead of plugging their guitars in. And if they looked more alike, they'd fool you that they were brothers.
As solo artists they have 10 releases between them. As a band their career is off to an auspicious start. Starting from a highly regarded position among their peers, they've opened for the art-piano-pop critical darling Vienna Teng, Grammy nominated friend and fan Sara Bareilles, and now will take to the entire U.S
. and Canada this summer supporting one of the consummate songwriters of their generation, Joe Purdy. Despite the decision to stick to acoustic guitars in their own show, both Ryan and Pattengale are multi-instrumentalists and will also comprise Purdy's backing band, joining him on bass, pedal steel guitar, piano, and harmonies.
Their first collaborative release, RETROSPECT, is a live album due out March 15th, 2011, that represents the culmination of the past year of live performance. A collection of songs from each of their solo careers, written separately but reinterpreted and performed as the duo now called The Milk Carton Kids, RETROSPECT will be released under the name "Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan".
The first official release of The Milk Carton Kids, entitled PROLOGUE, is comprised of original songs written by the duo for this project. It is slated for release later in 2011, on their own Milk Carton Records.