Grammy-nominated The Milk Carton Kids are one of those ephemeral bands. Folk/Americana gets close, yet they're somehow both anachronistic and modern. MCK formed in 2001 but the duo of 30-somethings Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan is so engaging musically and lyrically—and personally in between-song banter—it's like the band has been around forever. However, they're clearly products of the 21st century: Their first two albums Retrospect (Milk Carton Records, March 2011, as Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan) and Prologue (Milk Carton Records, July 2011, as The Milk Carton Kids) are still available for free (themilkcartonkids.com).
With a sound and sensibility that marries Simon and Garfunkel, The Avett Brothers and Josh Ritter with a soupcon of The Smothers Brothers, it's just Pattengale and Ryan and their acoustic guitars. With nothing to hide behind, performances are discernibly intimate, even in a large theater or hall and audiences can really see how incredibly talented and unpretentious Pattengale and Ryan are.
In a 2015 interview with Guitar World, Pattengale said his 1954 Martin 0-15 is "kind of beat to shit. ... After touring it for five years with this band, it's developed a kind of tone that's hard to replace when I'm swapping guitars in and out. Every time that one's in the mix, it seems to be saying the right thing."