Wearing their influences prominently on their Nashville by way of California sleeves, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan’s songs explore a rich tradition of American folk and country with an awe inspiring commitment to the material and the legacy of their musical idols that came before them. In doing so, the duo manages to come off not just as worshipers at the altar of Rawlings and Welch (and Simon [Paul] and Williams [Hank]), but as worthy heirs to the tradition that came before them. And when the band played the Birchmere last week (opening for Over The Rhine) that tradition was on full display to the delight of the assembled audience.
And Pattengale and Ryan made good use of the short time they had. Employing a sort of “aw shucks” Smothers Brother-esque feeling to their between song banter, Ryan played the straight man to Pattengales likeable troubadour. While their songs might be heavy - all GOOD country music is about losing the girl after all - the humor between songs drew the audience deep into the performance and by the time the duo hit the song “I Still Want A Little More” late in their set, the audience was clapping along, fully invested in a group that not 45 minutes ago they might not have even heard of.
That’s no small feat, and it’s a testament to the amount of talent that these two singer/songwriter’s posses. But don’t just take my word for it, check this video of the band performing the track "Stealing Romance" at The Birchmere.