The previous post about The Civil Wars was an unanticipated preamble to the present article. I was in the process of writing about another duet I had recently discovered: The Milk Carton Kids. It was late at night when I saw the news of the Civil Wars ending and the thought struck me how numerous the similarities exist between them and TMCK. Both groups are/were duos. Both perform folk music. Both are known for pure, rich vocals and exquisite harmony. Both are accompanied only by accoustic guitar. Both are fueled by a body of lyrically intelligent songs with amazing meaning and melody.
I had tickets to see The Milk Carton Kids perform next month. A few days ago, I got an email that all their shows for August and September had been canceled due to vocal strain. This was a blow, as when their tour starts up again in October, they will not be near enough for me to attend. Translation – they are not David Archuleta for whom apparently, no geographical coordinate within the continental United States is too far for me to travel.
But they are so talented and their music is poignant and gorgeous. The two struggled separately for years without much success until 2011 when Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan ditched their solo careers and became The Milk Carton Kids, blending so flawlessly their tenor voices that it’s almost like listening to one voice. They have since toured to sold-out venues in the US and Europe and been nominated for a Grammy for their album, The Ash and Clay. Here they are performing in an empty space they fill completely.
Video Credit ThePortlandSessions
Which brings me to what I was intending to write pre-Civil War. The touting of what a tour de force work of promotion The Milk Carton Kid’s have achieved in such a short time. Visit their official site and click on TOURS and you will find not just the upcoming tour dates, but all the past tours listed and every venue they’ve ever performed. I can’t help but think how gosh almighty that would look on David’s official site. Think of all the cities he has performed on tour, all the early TV appearances that could be listed. It would be a ponderous chain of events and an impressive page indeed. The Milk Carton Kids also have an entire page devoted to fans who do covers of their songs. Every fan, every cover, ever done and more being added all the time. How appreciative is that? There is even a listing and link at the bottom of every page of their OS for their Management, their Booking Agent and their Press Agent. But here is the savvy part, for this is how I came to know them and how it happened that I got online and purchased tickets to their concert. Their first two albums, Prologue and Retrospect are free for download on their OS. Smart. Back in 2011, the same year The Milk Carton Kids started, I wrote an article about music industry changes and the importance of seeing the world differently in this technological age. I encourage you to give it another look because it says a lot of what I want to say here but lack the space. Today, for a variety of reasons, the money is in tours and merchandise. But first, you have to get them to come to a show.
This is about an example of how a true artist with the right self-promotion can sell out venues without selling out. This is not about whether or not you like indie folk or that I want David to go that route. I don’t. I just want him to honor what is real and true for him musically. Considering his choice of Stephanie Mabey and Justin Christensen to work with, maybe it will sound something like the video below. All he has to do is get them to come out to a show. His voice and charisma will do the rest. Watch how the merest change of expression on his face elicits a reaction. Then the smile. He wins again.
Video Credit ArchuletaAvenue