When Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan ditched their solo careers to form The Milk Carton Kids, they discovered that they had a lot to teach each other. They also had a plan: to give their music away in order to find their audience. It worked remarkably well. Now, their third album, The Ash & Clay, is out on a regular label — no freebies this time around — and they're playing to packed houses across the U.S. and Europe.
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan were doing just fine as solo performers. Then one night, Ryan walked into a bar where Pattengale was playing.
"I heard Kenneth perform a song that he had written from the perspective of a dead dog, only very recently having been hit by a truck," Ryan says, wryly. "And it was that sort of uplifting material that drew us together."
Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, known as The Milk Carton Kids, are getting a lot of well-deserved buzz. When the folk duo released its second album Prologue for free online last year, more than 60,000 fans downloaded the tracks. Acoustic, soothing, rich in ballads — the signature Milk Carton Kids form of fusing two voices into one sound is mesmerizing.