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Milk Carton Kids bring folk charms to ECC

The Milk Carton Kids will perform at ECC on Nov. 9.  |  File photo

The Milk Carton Kids will perform at ECC on Nov. 9. | File photo

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With a sound described by The New York Times as “part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers,” Los Angeles-based folk duo The Milk Carton Kids have a lofty legacy to uphold.

Audiences in Elgin will get the chance to judge for themselves when The Milk Carton Kids perform at the Elgin Community College Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan formed the group in 2011 after long careers as solo artists.

Their first album, “Retrospect,” was released before the duo had even chosen a name, and a Twitter endorsement from pop artists Sara Bareilles gave the album and the duo a serious boost. In addition to touring across the country,

The Milk Carton Kids have appeared on NPR’s “Mountain Stage,” been guest DJs on Sirius/XM Radio’s “The Village” folk station, appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” and performed on “Conan.”

Among the performers The Milk Carton Kids have toured with are k.d. lang, the Punch Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show.

This year, The Milk Carton Kids released their third album, “The Ash & Clay,” and they performed at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival as part of a benefit concert organized by filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen and T-Bone Burnett.

The concert featured music from the Coen brothers’ upcoming film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which chronicles the life of a folk singer-songwriter in the 1960s.

Although The Milk Carton Kids have only been performing together for a little more than two years, they already have built up a significant fan base in the folk world with their acoustic guitar playing, close harmonies and deadpan on-stage humor.

The duo’s primary influences can best be described as derived from classic bluegrass, but The Milk Carton Kids also weave in guitar lines that combine it with jazz.

NPR has described The Milk Carton Kids’ style as “gorgeous contemporary folk,” and Paste magazine has praised the duo for their “intellectual sophistication” and called them “an option for purists unsatisfied with the pop tendencies seeping into the genre.”

Mix Magazine also recently described their strengths as “the sweetness and beauty of two voices singing in harmony, the delicate interplay of two acoustic guitars and the beauty and strength of great songwriting.”

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