The Milk Carton Kids w/ Michaela Anne
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Sun, Apr 3 - 8pm
Presented by DSP Shows
$38.50 Adv. / $45 DOS
Music Hall Doors Open at 7pm
16+ unless accompanied by parent or legal guardian.Buy Tickets
For the safety of our artists, venue staff and our community as a whole we will be requiring proof of vaccination for admittance to all shows at Gateway City Arts until further notice. Results from a negative COVID test will NOT be accepted for entry. In addition, masks are required to be worn at all times while at the venue. You may pull your mask down when eating or drinking only.
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General admission seated.
Folk duo The Milk Carton Kids return to Western Massachusetts for a show at Gateway City Arts!
About 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.”
About Michaela Anne
Full of lush, sweeping arrangements and honest, deeply vulnerable self-examination, ‘Desert Dove’ marks a bold new chapter for Michaela Anne, both artistically and professionally. While the songwriting is still very much rooted in the classic country she’s come to be known for, the record (her first for Yep Roc) represents something of a sonic shift, incorporating more modern production elements than ever before in pursuit of a sound that owes as much influence to indie rock as honky tonk. Despite the bolder, more adventurous arrangements, Michaela’s crystalline voice remains front and center on the album, a pure, airy beam of light shining bravely into the dark corners of loneliness, pain, and desire that we all so often to try to hide.
Produced jointly by Sam Outlaw and Delta Spirit’s Kelly Winrich and recorded with an all-star band that included guitarist Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakam, Jim Lauderdale), fiddler Kristin Weber (Kacey Musgraves, Margo Price), and drummers Mark Stepro (Ben Kweller, Butch Walker) and Daniel Bailey (Everest, Father John Misty), ‘Desert Dove’ is an achingly beautiful collection, with songs that frequently find themselves balancing optimism and fatalism in the very same breath. There’s an undercurrent of yearning in Michaela’s music (the melancholy “Be Easy,” for instance, chases a peace of mind that never comes, while the breezy “Child Of The Wind” longs for connection and permanence in the face of perpetual itinerancy), as well as a fiercely feminine perspective that’s assured in its power and unapologetic in its candor. The prostitute of the title track challenges the traditional perception of women as a source of comfort and service for men (“You love them all the way they want and they need / But tell me who does your heart wish to please?” she asks), and the spirited “If I Wanted Your Opinion” offers up an all-purpose response to gendered condescension.
Michaela first began garnering national attention with the 2014 release of ‘Ease My Mind,’ an old-school collection hailed by The New York Times for its “plain-spoken songs of romantic regret and small-town longing” and named one of the year’s best country albums by The Village Voice. After a move from Brooklyn to Nashville, Michaela followed it up in 2016 with the similarly lauded ‘Bright Lights and the Fame,’ which featured guest appearances by Rodney Crowell and Punch Brother Noam Pikelny. NPR said Michaela “works through weepers and hits the honky-tonks as every great country singer should,” while Rolling Stone compared her to Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, and Vice Noisey praised her as the antidote to commercial pop country, calling her “our saving grace, our angel, the person who will help usher us into a new age.” Songs from the record landed on high profile Spotify playlists as well as the HBO series ‘Divorce,’ and the album earned Michaela slots at Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Merlefest, and both the US and UK iterations of AmericanaFest, along with a seemingly endless series of dates across the States and Europe with the likes of Mandolin Orange, Courtney Marie Andrews, Joe Pug, Ron Pope, and Sam Outlaw.
Since the release of Desert Dove on Yep Roc Records in September 2019, the critical acclaim has continued. The album has received national praise from a multitude of outlets that include Billboard, Rolling Stone Country, NPR, Paste Magazine, Wide Open Country, Brooklyn Vegan, Albumism, Associated Press, No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation and The Boot. Regionally, Michaela has appeared in print in Nashville Scene and Nashville Lifestyles, who commented that, “The classic country-style songs sound as if they’re being sung from an expansive cave or a massive honky tonk… the effect is a group of acoustic songs with the brevity of country songwriting and the capricious intensity of indie rock.” The fall of 2019 saw Michaela’s debut on Mountain Stage while Philadelphia’s WXPN named her their Artist of the Month. Desert Dove has been appearing on multiple end of year lists including Albumism’s top 50 best albums of 2019 as well as both Stereogum and Rolling Stone Country’s top 10 best Country & Americana albums of 2019. Rolling Stone Country described the album as “a textured portrayal of turmoil and restlessness set to a mix of West Coast-country, atmospheric indie-rock indebted reverb and plaintive folk-pop.” while Stereogum considered Michaela as “hard to pigeonhole” with “a perspective so uniquely her own on Desert Dove, an album that paints a story of a life lived on her own terms.” They summed it up even more concisely, saying Michaela and the album were simply “impossible to forget.”