purdy

The Milk Carton Kids On Tour Now!

Their songs disguise the youth of the members of the band. Befittingly, so do the old guitars they play and old clothing they wear. But to be sure, The Milk Carton Kids have something new to present: harmonies & minimalist instrumentation which are a clear reference to times passed, but with an eye intently on the future; a perspective on coming-of-age in the eye of a present-day storm; and the chronicling of an American struggle for simplicity, at least musically. To present it they use two guitars and two voices, they labor over the arrangements, they record themselves live, and they release their music on their own label, and for free.

A performance by The Milk Carton Kids is a quiet and intricate affair. Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan have enjoyed intently listening audiences across the country and abroad in their respective solo careers, but an even greater sense of urgency and demand of attention is palpable now that they’ve come together as The Milk Carton Kids. Their songs are written together, but you won’t know there is more than one author.  Their history together spans only one short year, but you won’t know that either. They stand close together when they play, facing each other and using microphones instead of plugging their guitars in. And if they looked more alike, they’d fool you that they were brothers.

As solo artists they have 10 releases between them. As a band their career is off to an auspicious start. Starting from a highly regarded position among their peers, they’ve opened for the art-piano-pop critical darling Vienna Teng, Grammy nominated friend and fan Sara Bareilles, and now will take to the entire U.S. and Canada this summer supporting one of the consummate songwriters of their generation, Joe Purdy. Despite the decision to stick to acoustic guitars in their own show, both Ryan and Pattengale are multi-instrumentalists and will also comprise Purdy’s backing band, joining him on bass, pedal steel guitar, piano, and harmonies.

Their first collaborative release, RETROSPECT, is a live album due out March 15th, 2011, that represents the culmination of the past year of live performance. A collection of songs from each of their solo careers, written separately but reinterpreted and performed as the duo now called The Milk Carton Kids, RETROSPECT will be released under the name “Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan”.

The first official release of The Milk Carton Kids, entitled PROLOGUE, is comprised of original songs written by the duo for this project. It is slated for release later in 2011, on their own Milk Carton Records.

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Tour Dates:

May 5 – Doug Fir – Portland, OR
May 6 – Crocodile Cafe – Seattle, WA
May 7 – The Rio Theater – Vancouver, BC
May 9 – Neurolux - Boise, ID
May  10 – State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
May 12 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
May 14 – Bottleneck – Lawrence, KS
May 15 – Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
May 16 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
May 17 – Turner Hall - Milwaukee, WI
May 18 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
May 19 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
June 8 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
June 9 – WorkPlay – Birmingham, AL
June 10 – The Loft – Atlanta, GA
June 11 – Grey Edge – Asheville, NC
June 12 – Cat’s Cradle – Carborro,  NC
June 14 – Ram’s Head – Annapolis, MD
June 15 – World Cafe Live – Philadelphia, PA
June 16 – Highline Ballroom – New York City, NY
June 17 – Stage One – Fairfield, CT
June 20 – Iron Horse – Northampton, MA
June 21 – Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
June 22 – Narrows Center for the Arts – Fall River, MA
June 23 – Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
June 25 – Petit Campus – Montreal, QC
June 26 - Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ONT
June 27 – Rex Theater – Pittsburg, PA
June 28 – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
June 30 – Westscott Theater – Syracuse, NY

On tour with Joe Purdy

The Voice Project - Singing Ugandan Child Soldiers Back Home

The Voice Project launches to support Ugandan women’s groups who are using music to bring the child soldiers home - Featuring Andrew Bird, Mike Mills, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Joseph Arthur, Joe Purdy, Dawes, SoKo & many more to come...

The Voice Project a US based non-profit supporting the women of Northern Uganda who have been using music effectively to bring soldiers home from Africa’s longest running war, the 24 year old conflict that has devastated the region of Northern Uganda, Congo, Southern Sudan and CAR.

Many soldiers fighting with Joseph Kony's LRA were abducted as children and forced to fight. Many were made to kill their own friends and family, and while many do eventually escape, they often hide in the bush ashamed and afraid to come home because of what they were made to do.

Women in the region, widows and rape survivors, have been banding together into groups to care for each other and the orphans left by the war. Often without the right to even own land, these women have been taking a lead role in the Peace and Reconciliation efforts, one of their main tools: using messages carried in songs spread on the radio and by word of mouth into the bush to let the soldiers know that they are forgiven and that they should come home. And it's working. Soldiers have been hearing the songs and coming home.

Considering the atrocities the women have been subjected to, this is clearly not only one of the greatest uses of music, but also one of the greatest acts of compassion, love, and forgiveness one can find. Co-Founder Hunter Heaney first heard of the women’s efforts and how they were using music to call the soldiers home while working at an IDP camp (Internally Displaced Persons) in the tiny village of Agoro on the Uganda/Sudan border in 2008. He learned the women’s songs from different groups in the region and when they asked him to teach them some, the first one to come to mind was Joe Purdy’s “Suitcase.” Heaney brought the story of how the women were using music home with him, telling friends like music producer Chris Holmes and filmmaker Anna Gabriel. Together they assembled a team of friends like Internet entrepreneurs Kelleigh Faldi and CC Lagator, Web Developer Jason Young, Nicole Grable from the NGO world, and music industry veterans like Jay Sweet, Andrea von Foerster and Ana Calderon, and together started The Voice Project to support the women.

The story was passed to Alex Ebert from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros who offered to combine the record release party for his new band’s debut album Up From Below with the project to raise money for the ladies. The money was used to start a small farm in Gulu. The women celebrated and sent their thanks in song, a phone call to Heaney singing the Joe Purdy tune he had taught them nine months before, and a short video of them singing the chorus to Edward Sharpe’s “Home” which has been making its way around the Internet.

From there, the idea for the “cover chain” was born. Taking the lead from the women in Uganda, the friends decided to keep the chain going and have artists pass on the story of the women to other musicians by each covering another’s song, with The Voice Project team filming each link as a series of episodes that would eventually circle back around to the women in Uganda, posting each online and raising money along the way from sponsors, advertisers and donors to support the women, the peace movement, and rehabilitation programs for former child soldiers.

Episodes featuring Andrew Bird, Mike Mills, Dawes, Joseph Arthur, Tom Freund, Joe Purdy and SoKo have already been shot and posted, with upcoming links from Peter Gabriel, Devendra Banhart, The Submarines, Bedouin Clash and many more on the way. A number of non-profits have also been getting behind the project in hopes of raising awareness and support for the war-torn region, including Oxfam International, Witness, HOPE and others.