An Incredible Folk Collaboration Heads to NoHo this Sunday

By Adria Kelly

Throughout human history music has been used as a form of storytelling. Folk, Americana, Country, Blues, Bluegrass and many other genres have adhered to this tradition of musical narration and recently in the United States there has been a flux of incredible artists from these styles appearing on the forefront of the industry. This Sunday in Northampton The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz, a few outstanding folk musicians, will come together in perfect harmony in a night of collaboration and awe.

The Milk Carton Kids, made up of Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, is a duo whose vocalization and instrumentation is so in sync you can hardly tell which artist is playing what. They have been featured on “Conan,” “A Prarie Home Companion,” “Austin City Limits” and the Coen Brothers’ and T Bone Burnett’s concert film “Another Day/Another Time.”. Absolutely brilliant in their flat-picking skills and powerful harmonization, the duo transports the audience into a tranquil and profound space with every song that they perform. Their most recent album, “Ash & Clay,” was described by Performer Magazine as “a further example of the duo’s ability to create songs that are both intimate and powerful, bittersweet and inspiring,” and that proof of depth continues with each song the group sings.

For this tour The Milk Carton Kids will be in complete collaboration with Texas native Sarah Jarosz, Nominated for multiple Grammys singer-songwriter Jarosz has been jamming on instruments since she could hold a mandolin at 10 years old. She received a degree in contemporary improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2013 and almost immediately released her third album Build Me Up From Bones, which is a perfect example of her growth in musical sound. Jarosz loves performing, and is especially excited to adapt to the new dynamic of a collaborative show. Jarosz plays mandolin, banjo, guitar and octave mandolin and will rotate instruments throughout the concert (although her guitar playing will probably be minimal since both of the Milk Carton Kids will be playing guitars.) She has an amazing quality to her music that Bethany Harris said comes from “her humility accentuated by the exhilaration that her playing and songwriting inspires.”

The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz will be joined on stage by Samson Grisman on bass, Alex Hargreaves on violin and Nathaniel Smith on cello. The three are often seen with Jarosz and have all toured consistently with a plethora of artists in the country, folk, roots and bluegrass scenes. They come from all different parts of the country and have been seen on stage with the likes of Jerry Douglas, Mumford & Sons, Brian Sutton, Martin Taylor and Natalie MacMaster. Their skills will superbly compliment the work of Jarosz and The Milk Carton Kids.

Although rehearsals for this tour began less than two weeks ago, the musical prowess of all the artists involved is bound to astound any person lucky enough to see their show. The duo met Jarosz at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2013 and quickly developed a mutual appreciation of the others’ sound and skill.

Their tour will span the Northeast all the way down to Nashville, Tennessee and Des Moines, Iowa.

Even if you have no interest in the folk sound this concert will be a wonderful experience illustrating the current music scene. The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz in collaboration are a perfect example of harmony, musical prowess and songwriting genius that can be seen around the world today. The trip to Calvin Theater in Northampton is worth it for any music lover anywhere so try to make it out for the show of the year. Tickets are between $25-$35.

Adria Kelly can be reached at [email protected]