Milk Carton Kids

I've known Joey Ryan for 5 years or so.  He was one of the first songwriters I met and wrote with when I moved to Los Angeles in late 2007.  Talented, nice, and smart in an unassuming sort of way.  He seemed like a guy that had a real shot at poking his head above the Hotel Cafe songwriter scene.  I remember questioning his judgement when I heard that he was putting his solo career on hold so that he could record and tour as a duo with Kenneth Pattengale as The Milk Carton Kids.

I saw a show and understood.  Their voices are like peanut butter and jelly.  Joey's guitar playing is solid and foundational.  Kenneth plays gorgeous solos.  Their on stage banter is hilarious.  Dang.  This could be something special.

They've been working the old fashioned way for a couple of years now.  Touring, writing, touring, writing.  I get the impression that they want to build slow and steady, fan by fan, town by town.   It's exciting to watch; it seems like a very real, organic, honest thing.

Speaking of watching, they just played an NPR Tiny Desk Concert, which you can see here.


Folks, it's hot down here.

We're halfway through our second week of 100 degree weather and looking forward to next week when it's supposed to cool down to the mid nineties.  Our little tomato and basil garden, which had been growing like crazy, is trying to hang on for dear life; we're not experienced gardeners and can't offer much more than words of encouragement.

In the meantime, I'm just plugging away at my tv music work and trying to arrange my schedule to allow for more absorption of inspiring stuff.  There is no shortage of that around here.  Seems like everywhere you turn there is someone doing something cool.  It's been a challenge to get out and see live music, though, mostly because I'm ready for bed by 8:45.  I have become an early morning person.

I finished reading Wallace Stegner's Big Rock Candy Mountain and loved it.  I'm becoming a fan of his.  I read Angle of Repose last year and have been thumbing through a collection of his short stories.  He finds his drama in the everyday challenges of American life.  He writes of the internal struggles that we all face; the 'who am I, what am I, why am I, where am I going' sorts of questions that we ask ourselves with every step we take.  Or is that just me?  Either way, it appeals to me and I like it.

I'll be playing some songs at our cool neighborhood music venue The Family Wash next Tuesday.  That's Tuesday, July 10th for anyone keeping track.  It's a night of 'short sets', where a handful of songwriters are invited to play...short sets.  Probably six songs or so, which is a nice way for me to ease back into performing.  It has been a long, long time since I've played my tunes...they almost feel like new songs again.  I was invited to play by fellow former Eugenian Mare Wakefield.  She's been living in Nashville for a while now and has been very generous in her offers to help me get to know the place.

Anyhow, things are moving right along as they should.  I'll keep you posted.