Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan are The Milk Carton Kids

by Ariana Pekary, Producer


The Milk Carton Kids adopted their name from a song which they wrote and appeared on their second album, Prologue.  It’s called “Milk Carton Kid” and the line goes “I don’t feel the pain I once did/ One day it just vanished like a milk carton kid.”  It’s that type of writing, using a negative metaphor to convey what should be a positive emotion, that will hook you on the duo… 

 Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, The Milk Carton Kids, in the performance studio at Sirius XM in Washington, DC

…That is if you haven’t already been enthralled by their tender harmonies and soulful guitar sounds.  And when we say soulful, we mean the type of sound that makes you want to lie back on the grass and gaze up at the universe in wonder. 


The Ash & Clay* is the third album released by Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan in the past two years.  The first two albums are available on their web site for free and without any strings attached, so to speak.  You have to pay for this third album, but if you want a taste (they seem to be mastering the art of the tease), you can watch the title track here:



Pattengale and Ryan were in studio with Bob for an hour and that easily could have been two hours the way the young musicians love to chat, bicker and debate.  You really would think that they have known each other more than two years with the sibling-like dynamic that they have.  Lucky for us, that magical, close-knit formula translates to their artistry as well.  We hope you enjoy their music and banter during their interview with Bob.


*Don’t mistake the ampersand for the word “and” in the album and song title.  To do so would deny Ryan the opportunity to explain the history of the ampersand and all its ligature delights.


Many of their songs are available on youtube, and if you want a longer (15 min 52 sec) A/V introduction to TMCK, try this one: NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert.