ALL THE THINGS THAT I DID AND ALL THE THINGS THAT I DIDN’T DO‘ has already been previewed by such extraordinary songs as ‘Big Time’. The track arrived last month via an exclusive premiere in Rolling Stone, which wrote, “Kicking off with a lively fiddle vamp, ‘Big Time’ features light percussion and buoyant acoustic thrums under Pattengale’s tremulous voice. He takes the first verse and chorus and then supplies harmonies to Ryan, who handles the lead throughout the rest of the high-spirited song, sung from the point of view of someone finally taking control of his or her life.”
“Big Time” followed the release of the project’s unprecedented opus, “One More For The Road.” An epic 10 minute-plus musical excursion through folk, jazz, psychedelia, and back again, the landmark track earned immediate attention from NPR’s Bob Boilen, who wrote, “If this 10-minute-plus song is any indication, The Milk Carton Kids are about to release a truly epic album.”
The Milk Carton Kids underwent a number of dramatic changes in the time since their last recorded outing, 2015’s acclaimed MONTEREY. Ryan is now the father of two children and works as a producer on Live From Here with Chris Thile. National politics have left him feeling disoriented and mournful. Pattengale’s relationship of 7 years ended, he is now producing records in Nashville, and he survived cancer – breaking a long cigarette habit in the process. Perhaps, as a result, ALL THE THINGS THAT I DID AND ALL THE THINGS THAT I DIDN’T DO is the band’s most profoundly personal thus far, the evocative full band sound providing a mournful, disorienting foil for lyrical themes of mortality, loss, heartbreak and national decline.
“We wanted to do something new,” Pattengale says. “We had been going around the country yet another time to do the duo show, going to the places we’d been before. There arose some sort of need for change.”
“Musically we knew we were going to make the record with a bigger sonic palette,” says Ryan. “It was liberating to know we didn’t have to be able to carry every song with just our two guitars.”
Having spent much the last decade affirming themselves as among contemporary folk and Americana’s finest songwriters, musicians, and live performers, The Milk Carton Kids ascend to even greater heights with ALL THE THINGS THAT I DID AND ALL THE THINGS THAT I DIDN’T DO. The band’s most expansive and experimentally minded collection to date, the LP was recorded last October in the Sun Room at House of Blues Studio in Nashville, TN with GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Joe Henry (Solomon Burke, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Carolina Chocolate Drops) and GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Ryan Freeland (Ray Lamontagne, Bonnie Raitt). The Milk Carton Kids once again opted to push the envelope of their distinctive sound, this time crafting their first-ever LP to feature backing by other musicians. ALL THE THINGS THAT I DID AND ALL THE THINGS THAT I DIDN’T DO sees Ryan and Pattengale joined in the studio by a truly stellar lineup of top session players, including Russ Pahl (Kacey Musgraves, Blake Shelton) on pedal steel and other guitars, bassists Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) and Dennis Crouch (Gregg Allman, Johnny Cash), Wilco’s Pat Sansone on piano, mellotron, and Hammond organ, drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Elton John, Willie Nelson), cellist Nathaniel Smith (Sarah Jarosz, Abigail Washburn), Levon Henry (Blake Mills, Nico Muhly) on clarinet and saxophone, Live From Here with Chris Thile favorite Brittany Haas on fiddle and mandolin as well as Lindsay Lou and Logan Ledger lending additional vocals .
Founded in 2011, The Milk Carton Kids swiftly emerged as a major force in the continuing American folk tradition, blending ethereal, oscillating harmonies and intricate, inventive musicianship with a uniquely powerful brand of contemporary songcraft. 2013’s ANTI- debut, THE ASH & CLAY, proved their national breakthrough, earning The Milk Carton Kids their first GRAMMY® Award nomination, for “Best Folk Album.” A second GRAMMY® nomination for “Best American Roots Performance” followed in 2015, honouring “The City of Our Lady,” from The Milk Carton Kids’ acclaimed third studio album, MONTEREY.
The Americana Music Association Award-winners for “Best Duo/Group,” The Milk Carton Kids have spent much of the past decade on tour, as international headliners, worldwide festival favorites, and special guests to such like-minded artists as Old Crow Medicine Show, Punch Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, The Lumineers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Josh Ritter, and The Avett Brothers. Ryan and Pattengale have also made numerous high profile media appearances, including TBS’ Conan, CBS This Morning, and NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concerts.
In addition, The Milk Carton Kids have proven in-demand collaborators, including musical partnerships with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Shovels & Rope, Chely Wright, Joe Henry, Dar Williams, and the great Chris Hillman, as well as teaming with T-Bone Burnett & Joel and Ethan Coen for the acclaimed concert documentary, Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis. In 2016, the band joined forces with Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, and Robert Plant for the sold out Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees tour.