Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale were veteran songwriters — 14 solo albums between them, to be exact — before they began collaborating on what would become the duo's first album, Prologue. But when they started writing songs, they stripped the sound from their previous projects and wrote melancholy, earnest tunes on 1950s Martin acoustic guitars. The result was The Milk Carton Kids, and since Prologue, the duo has released another album, The Ash & Clay, toured across the country, including primo official sets at SXSW, and gained a fiercely loyal following. Their live show is unexpectedly great, as well. Ryan and Pattengale perform in their Sunday best and break the somber tone of their songs with playful — nay, delightful — stage banter. The duo's silky, effortless harmonies recall CSN&Y, and Pattengale shreds the occasional solo like an acoustic Hendrix. The overall package is irresistible.
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