The Milk Carton Kids are a folk duo from Eagle Rock, CA. Their latest release, The Ash & Clay, is the band’s third full-length album. This is the first I have heard from The Milk Carton Kids, so I was unaware of what they would sound like. With the opening track, “Hope Of A Lifetime,” I was given a taste of their talents. One acoustic guitar plays parts with a deeper tone, while the other creates a swift pace with finger picking. Both members of the band sing exceptionally well together, blending their voices into one. “Honey, Honey” and “The Jewel Of June” follow this same format but in an upbeat style.

“Heaven” follows this pattern and is similar to something that would be played in a hoedown, and it’s one of the catchiest songs on the album. The guitar playing ability of both members can be highlighted in “Hear Them Loud” and “Snake Eyes.” These tracks contain short solos that lead back into the verses, creating a wonderful flow between parts. This album also places an emphasis on folk ballads. Many songs like “Memphis” take this blending that they excel at and use it for slower-paced tunes. In between the vocals, the notes ring beautifully, creating an intimate tone. Even though I am not a big folk fan, The Milk Carton Kids make enjoyable music. This duo stands out from others in the blooming genre, as they take an alternate route to the music. Two guys, two guitars, two voices, and one sound. The Ash & Clay captures the essence of beautiful folk ballads with exceptional guitar work and dual vocals of both members.

In A Word: Exceptional

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