The Milk Carton Kids: A Heartwarming Review in Charleston

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By Charlotte Baroody

As I sit in my friends apartment in the city that never sleeps watching her rundown chest rise and fall from the exhaustion of one too many chemos, I begin my search for musicians hitting the Charleston Music Hall. I needed a safe place for my sadness. A distraction. From the raw reality that was my new affair. Rummaging my search engine for some solace, and like a neon rainbow bombarding a daydreamt billboard, the name appears: The Milk Carton Kids, Tuesday, April 30th... I pounce on the arrangements and after some quick emails, I’m in. 

I arrive early to retrieve my golden ticket, me the Peter Ostrum of Folk music. The Charlie. Row 5 Seat 20. I sit anxiously with my notepad and Revelry beer. I buy two. My mind forewarning me to not miss a moment of what was to come. Lights dim and after a beautifully wild opening act by Jessica Lea Mayfield dazzling me with directives on love, loss and getting that power that is lost, back. I climbed cautiously out of my rabbit hole...Thanks girl, that felt good. I was insatiable.

Next stop, the Milk Carton Kids. Playing now with a band to induce a “larger sonic palette” that allowed them more wiggle room rather than it being the two of them and their guitars. The latest album was to be different. 

Like the arrival of two dark angels, Kenneth and Joey approach the mic; guitars strung on them like bolos on an actor from an old western. Analogous to the pouring of mercury on a table the most harmonic sound enveloped the theater and I wrote in the midnight of my seat on a napkin... “I’m already in love with love again.”  Between each note, each octave. I could feel in my frozen heart the thawing and crackling like ice with heat; their beguiling lyrics invading my emotions as tears fell wistfully from each eye as though taking turns to not overdo me. 

From past ballads as Asheville Skies to their newer songs recorded from their latest album: All the Things I Did and All the Things I Didn’t Do.  I was kidnapped from the sounds of You Break My Heart and I’ve Been Loving You in real time.  

Immediately, a scene the from Big Fish flashed in my mind where Edward Bloom and his future bride Sandra see each other for the first time at the circus and the narrator reads, “they say when you meet the love of your life, time stops”

Time. Was. Suspended for me, barely surviving each lullabaic song, each delicately orchestrated harmony. I was visionless. Miraculously awaking in a bed of flowers with new sight. As a secret told to you by your best friend. I left feeling I knew something no one else did. That I had witnessed something no one else had ever witnessed. Because when The Milk Carton Kids are singing their majestic harmonies, they make you feel as though you are the only one in the audience. A private concert for you and your thawed out heart, finally being given permission to feel again. 

To learn more about these Grammy-nominated artists and when you can see them yourself, visit them online for bios and upcoming tour dates.