Words // Scott Pingeton
Photos // The Wild Honey Pie
From the ashes of DeYarmond Edison, two bands emerged. Megafaun set an adventurous course, exploring the the more experimental reaches of folk music. And, of course, Justin Vernon went on to form Bon Iver to massive critical acclaim and commercial success. But, that isn't the whole story. One ember continued to smolder and now, five years on, is ready to burst into flame.
Chris Porterfield has released two fantastic EPs under the name Conrad Plymouth. The first, self-titled EP, was a full-band effort that showcased his soul-bearing songwriting and simple-yet-dramatic folk compositions. The life, blood, sweat and tears that Porterfield shares on his achingly beautiful songs is haunting and deeply personal. "Fergus Falls", the gorgeous track that turns a story of downward spiral and ultimate recovery into an uplifting and triumphant anthem.
A second EP, a collection of stripped-down acoustic demos, was released last year as summer waned. These were cast-offs, tracks that were apparently unfit for the upcoming LP, but I was struck immediately by the raw beauty. I called the album (perhaps flippantly) "our generation's Nebraska" and gave it a well-deserved spot on my Favorite EPs of 2011 list. The EP's first track, "I Am Not Waiting Anymore" is a track I've turned to countless times over the past 6 months - a mantra, promise and a declaration. Lyrics that cut through the fog, denouncing indolence and embracing a new beginning.
Now operating under the name Field Report, Porterfield & co. are ready to step into the spotlight. The new incarnation of the band made their debut at SXSW, playing 9 shows in 3 days - from churches to bars to fancy, beer-sponsored outdoor bro-parties. I was lucky enough to attend two of the nine, and I was knocked on my ass both times. The quality of songwriting was not a surprise, but the passionate, fervid live performances were. In both cases I stood spellbound and dumbfounded, at once inspired to soak in the lyrics in rapt silence and to return the intense emotion in fist-pumping, catharsis. Field Report's live debut was absolutely stunning, and I cannot wait to hear the full record.
Both of the tracks I mentioned above from the previous EPs have been re-recorded and will appear on the full length. You can stream them both at Field Report's website, as well as here:
Here's a video of "I Am Not Waiting Anymore" from The Outlaw Roadshow at SXSW. Audio isn't great -- those weird pitch modulations are just my shitty camera -- but the greatness of the performance translates.
(Fun fact: see that photo up there on the right? Plaid shirt, front row...that's me)