August 31 — “Fergus Falls” by Field Report

Field Report (Christopher Porterfield)

In our continuing series on bands who will be playing at next weekend’s 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, today we take a look at Field Report.

Field Report is the stage name of Christopher Porterfield, who is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has recently played in another “solo” band under the name Conrad Plymouth. He was also in a band called DeYarmond Edison. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver was also in that band, along with some guys who would later form the band Megafun.

I don’t know whether I’m supposed to call this “indie folk” or “slowcore” or anything like that. I’ve read articles that compare Porterfield to Mark Kozelek. Not that Porterfield sounds like Kozelek. Just that the music style is similar and both are better with focused listening and a good deal of patience. That’s all good and well, but in terms of a “sounds like” thing, I would say that Porterfield “sounds like” some mixture of Jeff Tweedy and Vic Chesnutt.

That’s about all I know about Porterfield. I’ve read that some of the songs he’s releasing under the Field Report name have been works in progress for about six years. I’ve read that some of the Field Report songs are reworked versions of DeYarmond Edison songs. I can neither confirm nor deny that.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I’d never heard of Field Report. Now that I’ve done a considerable amount of homework to maximize my festival-going enjoyment, I’m excited that I’ll be seeing Field Report.

The Field Report website suggests that there are ten songs. An album. However, the only thing that’s available for purchase is a “three-song preview”. You can download that preview from the bandcamp page. It’s available at “name your price”, but I’m assuming that we’re all adults here. It won’t kill you to leave a couple of dollars.

While I like all three songs, I especially like the first of them, and that’s part of the reason that it’s your song du jour. This is that song.

The very beginning of the song, and actually most of the song, reminds me of the Wilco song “What’s The World Got In Store” (from the brilliant 1996 double album Being There.

There’s something about this line that reminds me of Vic Chesnutt:

This is the one in which I miraculously pulled out of a free fall dive over Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Very specifically, it’s the way Porterfield sings the word “miraculously”. It reminds me of the Vic Chesnutt song “Very Friendly Lighthouses”, from the 2001 album Left to His Own Devices.

My little bit of research tells me that Fergus Falls, Minnesota is a very small town in the middle of the state. The Otter Tail River runs through it, and no less than four dams and hydroelectric plants were established there in the early 20th century. One, which collapsed in 1909 still sits just as it did on the day that it fell. I don’t think there are any natural falls anymore. Like I said, though, I only did some very basic research.

Just get the “free” songs and listen for yourself, at your own leisure. If you’re like me, this song will haunt you and you’ll want to listen again. And again.

Field Report will play on Friday night of the festival. He has the 10pm-11 slot at Long View Center. After I leave the Jesus & Mary Chain set at City Plaza, I’ll work my way over there.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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