Here’s a business plan…team up with another singer/songwriter, release your first two albums as free downloads, tour extensively as headliners and as openers for more well known bands, see a Grammy award winner tweet favourably about you, release your third album on an established indie label, tour behind it in three continents, sell hard copies of the free ‘stuff’ at shows, charm everyone with exquisite harmonies and finger picking guitar, garner an AMA nomination and what do you have? – Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan aka the Milk Carton Kids.
Sell out your first London show and come back a few months later to a larger venue and play in front of an audience that ‘whoops’ after the first song and continues to do so, as you deliver beautifully written stories interspersed with commentary that would give many a stand up comedian a run for their money. Inform the audience that after just one song, you are pretty much on track with what’s written down on the set list. Concentrate on material from the new album but don’t overlook the earlier releases. Dress in your ‘Sunday best’ – well it is a church after all. Don’t be fazed when you have to stop mid-song as a coughing fit takes hold of Pattengale because as you can attest ‘this part of the show went down really well in Glasgow’. Play Stealing Romance off mic. Respect the traditions of folk music but give it your own twist. Make it sound new and fresh and relevant to today. Receive a standing ovation. Invite opener Melody Pool to join you for the encore, Memphis. Receive another standing ovation.
Revel in the after show queues at the merchandise table. Hear people ask you to come back again soon. Sign CDs and LPs and posters and slips of paper. Pose for photographs with fans. Bask in the so richly deserved descriptions of ‘sublime’, ‘simply brilliant’ and ‘wonderful.’ And yes please do come back again soon! Jela Webb