Milk Carton Kids

Milk Carton Kids w/ Katie Pruitt• November 4, 2022• The Commonwealth Room

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

There’s something special about being in a room with hundreds of people, silently listening to music. It’s rare. Well, it feels rare. I feel like there are always some people who just can’t help but strike up a conversation. Even though the musicians they paid good money for are standing on the stage in front of them. But on November 4, 2022, the audience at The Commonwealth Room was ghost town silent. The only sound to be heard was the music of the folk duo, The Milk Carton Kids.

Katie Pruitt

Before The Milk Carton Kids took the stage, singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt took the stage. I had the opportunity to see Katie at this summer’s Park City Song Summit. I sat in on a number of labs she was part of. She shared a lot of insight into her life, music, and songs. The one thing I never got to do when I saw Pruit in Park City was hear her sing! So I was delighted to see her on the bill so that I might rectify that.

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

Pruitt has an incredibly powerful voice with a seemingly unending range. Her voice filled the room. But there were also moments when she sang so softly yet controlled. It was impressive. Katie told us that her love story was the “Typical Lesbian Love Story”. They started out as roommates and things developed from there. This was the last night of the tour and Katie was excited to return home to see her wife. The audience loved her autobiographical, “Loving Her”. Everyone was surprised when The Milk Carton Kids joined Pruitt for her last song. You don’t see that often.

Milk Carton Kids

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

Kenneth Pattengale & Joey Ryan took the stage to a large ovation. They walked out in black suits both strapped with acoustic guitars. They stood beside each other and sang into a lone standing area mic. You could hear a pin drop. Or a camera clicking. I know this because it was very awkward to take photos with it being so silent. I decided I’d wait for applause breaks or a louder part of the song. The last thing I’d want to do is be a distraction.

They opened with “Hope of a Lifetime”. It set the tone for a great evening. They followed with “Snake Eyes” also from their album The Ash & Clay. While I was up front taking photos I looked back at the audience and saw every eye totally fixated on the boys. And for good reason. Every note was true. Harmonies were precise. The sound coming from the stage was pure bliss to the ear. These guys sound so good. It’s amazing. Any mistake or flub would be impossible to notice. It’s just them and their guitars on stage. It was live music at its finest.

Not only are these guys amazing musicians but they’re great storytellers. They’re so funny! They joked about this possibly being their last time at The Commonwealth because their next tour stop in Utah could be at Vivint Arena due to them incorporating a banjo into their new album. An album which sounds close to being released. Stories of parenthood had the crowd laughing as they related to similar tales.

They played favorite songs like, “Younger Years”, “Memphis” and “Honey, Honey”. The Milk Carton Kids thanked us for spending our Friday night at a Folk concert. They told us that we were their kind of people. They shared a story I’ve heard many times now. The guys were getting burned out and the pandemic hit. Then after a while, they weren’t sure they’d get to do this again. It was then they realized that music was what they were born to do. “Concert goers. We need it. ” one said. He couldn’t be more right.

It was amazing to see these guys live again. The first time I saw them was at the Greek Theater in Berkley, California. They were the support band for The Avett Brothers. While that show was fantastic, I do feel like I enjoyed seeing The Milk Carton Kids in the intimacy of The Commonwealth Room that much more. While I will always champion their career success, I hope they never play Vivint Arena. They belong right where they were Friday night.