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April 24, 2011
Joe Purdy at The Parish

Joe Purdy at The Parish

If you were in Austin on Friday night and you were anywhere but The Parish I’m afraid you wasted your evening.

Because, if you were anywhere else then you missed the kickoff show of Joe Purdy’s This American tour. I’ve sung my Joe Purdy praises on this site before, but honestly, he’s fantastic. Truly, for my money, he’s one of the best singer/songwriters of this generation.  I snatched up tickets as soon as the tour was announced, and brought along one of my best girlfriends. We got there plenty early, and thank goodness we did because the opening act was just about the nicest surprise I’ve had lately…

California-based duo The Milk Carton Kids, Joey Ryan & Kenneth Pattengale, strode onstage unassumingly enough, both dressed in the bygone aesthetic favored by Purdy, and echoed in his music. Ryan, lanky and handsomely reminiscent of a young Jimmy Page, opened with self-deprecating deadpan banter that warmed up the growing crowd. They were certainly charming, but it was their opening song, “Permanent” that really floored me. I wasn’t prepared for such angelic harmonies from the acoustic duo. The crowd for an opening band isn’t generally known for being overly attentive but looking around it was clear that I wasn’t the only one totally captivated by these guys. The second song, “Laredo,” sung primarily by Pattengale, had the kind of quiet, crystalline beauty that makes all outside sounds – bottles clanking, boots scuffling, muffled talking – feel like a garish intrusion on a private moment. I think my mouth was agape the entire time. My friend and I kept catching each other’s eyes between songs with a look that clearly said “Holy crap, I’m in love with these guys.” When they finished their set I was sad to see them go, but as luck would have it, they weren’t gone for long…

Purdy flanked by The Milk Carton Kids

Joe Purdy brought The Milk Carton Kids back onstage as the backing band for his set. Ryan picked up the bass and Pattengale slid fluidly between the steel guitar, mandolin (a sound that Joe Purdy’s voice was made to be paired with), and just about anything else that needed played. After overcoming some opening song jitters in the form of dropped lines Purdy really hit his stride and made plain to the crowd how much he was enjoying this little Austin kickoff party. The earnest smiles and shared glances of The Milk Carton Kids betrayed their like feelings.

The set was a good mix of new tracks from This American and deeper cuts from his other albums. The three voices blended beautifully when they joined together on several choruses, adding a new dimension to Purdy’s solo material.

The night closed with a howling version of “The Cowboy Song” that had the spontaneous feel of an impromptu back porch jam between old friends. When the final notes were sung I was sad to be going home, I could have stayed on that back porch all night.

I’m so glad to have been here in Austin for the first night of this tour, because now I can hustle everyone I know in cities across America to the rest of his dates. I’ve seen Purdy several times before but the synergic combination of Joe and The Milk Carton Kids is absolute magic. Don’t miss it.

Visit Joe Purdy’s website for a full list of tour dates. And then while you’re waiting for the show to hit a town near you do yourself a huge favor and head over to The Milk Carton Kid’s website where you can download their entire live album, Retrospect, for free. (Seriously)  

5 Comments leave one →
  1. taylor permalink
    April 24, 2011 10:24 pm

    And he sang happy birthday to a very lucky fan

    Me :)

  2. April 25, 2011 2:07 am

    thanks for the review. i am amped to see them in utah in a couple of weeks. i saw joey and kenneth at the end of march and, like you, was floored. they are amazing and i can’t even imagine how great the three of them will be. thanks again.

  3. April 25, 2011 6:59 am

    Ah Taylor, that’s right! That was a very sweet gesture. And you are a lucky fan! :)

    Thank YOU Rachelle for reading and commenting, much appreciated!

  4. taylor permalink
    April 25, 2011 9:19 am

    Yes I agree! I’m glad to see somebody else is as passonite about Purdy as I am. But my friend and I were the same way about the milk carton kids! Very talented!


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