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The Milk Carton Kids The Ash & Clay (2013)

 The Milk Carton Kids — The Ash & Clay (2013)

The Milk Carton Kids — The Ash & Clay
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: March 26, 2013
Record Label: ANTI Records
Duration:     42:33
01. Hope Of A Lifetime    (3:13)
02. Snake Eyes    (2:38)
03. Honey, Honey    (2:20)
04. Years Gone By    (4:30)
05. The Ash & Clay    (3:39)
06. Promised Land    (3:50)
07. The Jewel Of June    (3:01)
08. Whisper In Her Ear    (4:05)
09. On The Mend    (3:53)
10. Heaven    (3:26)
11. Hear Them Loud    (3:03)
12. Memphis    (4:47)
Tracks 1-8, 10-12: The Milk Carton Kids
Track 9: Ken Pattengale / Lauren Wells
Produced by The Milk Carton Kids
Recorded mixed and mastered by Ryan Freeland 
Website: http://themilkcartonkids.com/
≈  "Anti Records is pleased to announce the signing of acclaimed Los Angeles based duo The Milk Carton Kids. The ensemble's album The Ash and Clay culminates a whirlwind first year of the band's existence. In that short time the duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have built a vibrant following with the simple purity of their music."
≈  Un excellent duo folk minimaliste californien, de splendides harmonies vocales. Recommandé!
By NPR Staff, March 23, 2013 6:25 AM
The Milk Carton Kids: At Life's Crossroads, A Duo Looks Both Ways
≈  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."
≈  Now, they're a duo: The Milk Carton Kids. They have been compared to Simon & Garfunkel for their close-harmony vocals and songs that are precise, softly uttered poems. And when they banter, they sound a bit like a long-married couple.
≈  Pattengale and Ryan spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about their upcoming release, The Ash & Clay, and about how they met their respective guitars.
Interview Highlights
On the title track
Joey Ryan: "I give all due credit to Kenneth for taking the lead on the writing of the title track. ... [We both] have turned 30 recently. And I think for the first time, we're in a unique position of having as much to look back on and to miss — you know, to remember fondly and also to regret — as we have to look forward to."
On the song "Snake Eyes"
Joey Ryan: "That's one of the more impressionistic songs, lyrically, that's come out of our collaboration. And it's sort of a meditation on nostalgia. You're looking back on something usually fondly, it implies. But at the same time, it's a very sad notion to acknowledge that it's gone. So I think the lyrics in that song, circumspectly, get at a meditation on that theme."
On their guitars
Joey Ryan: "I play a 1951 Gibson J-45. I've got it tuned down a whole step, and it leaves off on the low end right where Kenneth's picks up on the high end. He plays a 1954 Martin O-15 ... A fan — back in the days when I had no business having any fans at all — decided somehow that she wanted to give me a guitar. And that's the only guitar that I have and the only guitar that I play."
≈  The Milk Carton Kids will celebrate the release of The Ash & Clay with a number of special live performances. The festivities begin with two shows at Ventura's premiere listening room Zoey's. (The venue itself was the recording site for the band's first album Retrospect.) The celebration continues with an in-store performance at Los Angeles' legendary Amoeba Records. Finally, the band will host an evening of collaboration-in-song at Largo in Los Angeles—providing musical and vocal accompaniment to performances from Joe Henry, Over The Rhine, Tom Brosseau, Ed Helms, Joe Purdy and Jill Sobule with additional guests still to be announced.
≈  3/26 - Los Angeles, CA - Amoeba Record Store
≈  3/27 - Los Angeles, CA - The Milk Carton Kids Revue at Largo
The Foreword to The Ash & Clay by Joe Henry
≈  The good doctor William Carlos Williams famously wrote that “the pure products of America go crazy;” and it should surprise me not at all that the thought would find me a trembling but easy target alone in a hotel room, late of an evening, in the city of Hiroshima, by the Inland Sea.
This town has a way of stopping time and then re-animating it like still images in a flipbook, its stick figure dancing halting circles upon an endless sky. It invites you into a frozen past that flashes forward like a lost silent movie of our future already in progress.
≈  Of course, the demands of travel have a beautiful way of skewing all perception, rendering it liquid and wholly unreliable–but in the way that keeps hard facts from obscuring the elusive truth: night becomes day; seasons arrive disguised as others; the living and the dead take up together in your mind like lonesome wallflowers at a Sunday Social; I phone my wife and she answers me with breaking news from the closed book of yesterday; I relearn to speak my own name...
≈  Songs have the same power to confuse, seduce, stop time and re-animate it; to skin the lion and to leave it both spread on the floor and still stalking you from a ghostly crouch, the blood of your dreams already on its jowls. Because songs are in motion–and only fully realized in mid air and real-time— they are as untouchable as they are insistent.
≈  It is here in room 922 of The Mitsui Garden Hotel that I have my first encounter with The Ash & Clay by The Milk Carton Kids. And whereas for as long as I have known them I have always perceived the twin voices of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale as disappearing into one, I now hear that single and distinct character rising to speak for many...
≈  For within these songs is a man himself in motion –a traveler who dances in silent, halting circles. And what he does is quietly bear witness like a weathervane, to the carnival of souls by the wayside, his eyes cornered but his face always pointing forward, his voice in our heads. He moves through love but is alone; laughs at the wreckage, weeps with lust; throws and sweeps confetti, stands at cold gravesides; raises a hand in promise, then picks your pocket and slips quietly back across the border. He slides outside the law, bound by honor and duty, the pure product of a mad country working with all its heart at fevered cross-purposes.
≈  In the end it is mercy he is after, the character in this play—the kind of mercy that attends grace when truly living in spite of the inevitable, when singing the unspeakable to the unlistening. ≈  And from Hiroshima to Graceland, this character knows that the whole of human foolishness must be witnessed, loved, and forgiven for that mercy to be ratified.
≈   Like Jesus and Harpo Marx, he does this for us all.
≈  Joe Henry, Hiroshima, Japan - 10 October, 2012
Biography by Andrew Leahey
≈  The Milk Carton Kids are a contemporary folk duo from Los Angeles, California. Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan formed the group in early 2011, shelving their solo careers in favor of a collaborative project that focused on harmonized vocals, entwined acoustic guitars, and rootsy songwriting. From the very beginning, the Milk Carton Kids worked fast, releasing a live album (Retrospect) in March 2011 and returning three months later with their full-length studio debut, Prologue. Both recordings were released for free via the band's website. The guys toured heavily, too, pulling double duty as Joe Purdy's opening act and backing band during a spring 2011 tour before launching a headlining tour of their own after Prologue's release.
≈  Despite earning comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel, the Civil Wars, and the Everly Brothers, the Milk Carton Kids' minimalist, down-home material had more in common with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings' duets. As a result, Pattengale and Ryan smartly marketed themselves to the Americana crowd. After closing out 2011 with a performance on NPR's roots rock concert program Mountain Stage, the two spent most of 2012 on the road with other folksy acts, including Old Crow Medicine Show and the Lumineers. The Ash & Clay, the duo's sophomore studio outing, arrived in 2013 via the ANTI- record label.
By Jason Schneider; Rating: 8  (http://exclaim.ca)
≈  The sound of two voices and two guitars in harmony has been a cornerstone of American music since the beginning, from the Blue Sky Boys through to the Everly Brothers and Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. That the music of the Milk Carton Kids contains echoes of all of these artists is a testament to the depth of talent that Joey Ryan and Ken Pattengale possess. The Ash & Clay is the first major-label release for the California duo and its quiet power is startling in this age of studio excess. The immediate similarities to Welch & Rawlings, as well as Simon & Garfunkel, don't linger long once the album's spell takes hold. Ryan and Pattengale perform almost as a single entity, even though their roles are distinct, with Ryan's voice more dominant and Pattengale's fluid lead guitar providing a gorgeous counterpoint. None of these tools would be fully utilized, though, if not for the duo's equally natural songwriting ability. Classic folk themes are updated on tracks such as "Honey, Honey" and "Heaven," but it's the subtle observations in songs like "On the Mend" and especially "Memphis" that evoke vivid images of America's past and present. The Ash & Clay is an album sure to become increasingly meaningful with time.
≈  (Anti) © Kenneth Pattengale (left) and Joey Ryan, who record as The Milk Carton Kids. Their new album is called The Ash & Clay. 

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