The Milk Carton Kids sharing bill with Vance Gilbert

Songwriters like to mix in humor.

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Grammy-nominated duo The Milk Carton Kids and special guest Vance Gilbert will come together on stage at Parrish Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 29, as part of the Miami University Regionals Artist Series.

Howard Epstein, director of the series, said both The Milk Carton Kids and Vance Gilbert write a lot of their own material. Typically, on stage, they combine original songwriting, tasteful instrumentals and a touch of comedy.

“With The Milk Carton Kids, it’s like Simon & Garfunkel meets the Smothers Brothers,” he said.

“When they said Vance Gilbert would be playing with The Milk Carton Kids, it was like, ‘Wow, this is great,’ because we know Vance, he’s played here, and he’s such an amazing performer. The two together will really mesh well for people,” Epstein said.

The Milk Carton Kids have played the series once previously with a show in Middletown a few years back.

Both acts fit into the folk singer-songwriter genre, he said.

“Vance has a lot of comedy, but he’s a very soulful singer, and he writes a lot of his songs. Sometimes, the comedy is woven into the songs, and at other times, it’s in the banter in between. On his Facebook page, he’s been calling himself a ‘cereal-box homeboy’ on the dates he’s playing with The Milk Carton Kids, so you can get an idea about the type of jokes he’s going to tell,” Epstein said.

With a mix of tight harmonies and acoustic guitars, The Milk Carton Kids, the duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, continue to tour in support of the group’s latest album, “Monterey,” which was released in May 2015. In addition to sold-out North American tour dates, and a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album (“The Ash & Clay”), The Milk Carton Kids have been honored as Duo/Group of the Year at the Americana Music Awards in 2014, among other accolades.

Special guest Vance Gilbert exploded on to the singer/songwriter scene in the early 1990s. With jazz roots and folk sensibilities, his multidecade career has produced a dozen albums and a duo project with his friend Ellis Paul. His latest effort, “Nearness of You” was released in 2015. Gilbert has opened for a diverse number of artists, from Aretha Franklin, Arlo Guthrie and Anita Baker to comedian George Carlin.


What: The Milk Carton Kids with special guest Vance Gilbert

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29

Where: Miami University Hamilton, Parrish Auditorium

Cost: Tickets are $27 adults; $25 for faculty/staff/seniors and $18 for students (plus applicable ticketing fees)

More info: To order tickets, go online to or call (513) 529-3200. Email questions to

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