The Milk Carton Kids
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The Milk Carton Kids
Rosanne Cash, Creative Partner
Event DurationThe concert will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Presented as part of American Byways.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
The Milk Carton Kids
Listening to The Milk Carton Kids—Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale—talk about their creative process, it’s easy to imagine them running in opposite directions even while yoked together. “Joey and I famously have an adversarial relationship,” Pattengale says. They dig at each other in interviews and on stage, where Ryan plays his own straight man, while Pattengale tunes his guitar. The songs emerge somewhere in the silences and the struggle between their sensibilities. They have been known to argue over song choices. They have been known to argue about everything from wardrobe to geography to grammar. But their singing is the place where they make room for each other and the shared identity that rises out of their combined voices.
Defying the conventions of melody and harmony is a strategy The Milk Carton Kids have consciously embraced. “Sometimes we’ll switch parts for a beat or a bar or a note,” Ryan says. “And that starts to obfuscate what is the melody and what is the supporting part because we think of both of them being strong enough to stand alone.”
“There are only so many things you can do alone in life that allow you to transcend your sense of self for even a short period,” Pattengale continues. “I’m the lucky recipient of a life in which for hundreds of times, day after day, I get to spend an hour that is like speaking a language only two people know and doing it in a space with others who want to hear it.
The Only Ones, the group’s new record (out now on the band’s own Milk Carton Records imprint in partnership with Thirty Tigers), finds Ryan and Pattengale performing a stripped-down acoustic set without a backing band. On The Only Ones, the pair returns to the core of what they are about musically: the duo.
Ryan and Pattengale also recently hosted the 18th annual Americana Honors & Awards for the second year in a row, while the group has been nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best Folk Album in 2013 (The Ash & Clay); Best American Roots Performance in 2015 (“The City of Our Lady”); and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, in 2018 (All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do).
Over the past few years, life has changed dramatically for The Milk Carton Kids. Pattengale has moved to Nashville, where he is also producing records; Ryan is now the father of two children and works as a producer on Live from Here with Chris Thile. A break from years of non-stop touring, Ryan says, has yielded “space outside of the band that gives us perspective on what the band is.”
Rosanne Cash is on tour with She Remembers Everything, a poetic, lush, and soulful collection of songs that reckon with a flawed and intricate world. She Remembers Everything follows Cash’s triple Grammy-winning 2014 album The River & the Thread and marks a return to more personal songwriting after a trio of albums that explored her southern roots and family heritage. In the wake of the latest tsunami of survivor stories, Cash has embraced women’s narratives in this powerful material. “There is a woman’s real life, complex experiences, and layered understanding in these songs,” she says. “I could not have written them 10 years ago—not even close. Time is shorter, I have more to say.” She Remembers Everything was produced by collaborator John Leventhal and Tucker Martine.
One of the country’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters, Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four Grammy Awards and 11 nominations, as well as 21 top-40 hits, including 11 chart-topping singles. Cash is also an author whose four books include the best-selling memoir Composed, which the Chicago Tribune called “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Oxford American, The Nation, and many more print and online publications. A new book, Bird on a Blade, was recently published by UT Press, combining images by acclaimed artist Dan Rizzie with strands of lyrics from a variety of Cash’s songs. In addition to regular touring, Cash has partnered in programming collaborations with Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, SFJAZZ, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the Library of Congress.
Cash was awarded the SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award for Sound Recordings in 2012 and received the 2014 Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts. She was a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist in the 2015–2016 season and also served as a 2015 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. That same year, she was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2017–2018, she was a resident artistic director at SFJAZZ. Last year, Cash was awarded with the “Spirit of Americana” Free Speech Award by the Americana Music Association and received an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music. She is currently writing the lyrics for a musical, Norma Rae, with composer John Leventhal and book-writer John Weidman.