Coming Thursday on the Hub will be my story on Milwaukee-based folk band Field Report who visits the Meyer Theatre Jan. 16 as the fourth installment of the Near Water Concert Series. Although stories and interviews can do a lot when it comes to turning folks on to new music, it’s pretty hard to properly convey what a band sounds like in a black-text-on-white-surface format. One could read all day about how gorgeous (or shrill) a singer’s voice is, but that’s no substitute for hearing the real thing.
That said, if you have yet to hear (or hear of) Field Report, here’s a good opportunity. The best news is that you haven’t yet missed the boat — the group, headed up by UW-Eau Claire graduate Chris Porterfield, is on the uptick and not being in the know at this point won’t lead you into any embarrassing “You haven’t heard of ______?!?” confrontations.
Once upon a time, Porterfield was in Eau Claire’s DeYarmond Edison, which after breaking up spawned both Megafaun and Bon Iver. Porterfield spent some time playing solo shows under the name Conrad Plymouth, but now he’s assembled a seven-man crew as Field Report and released a debut album in September. They’re fresh off tours with Counting Crows and Emmylou Harris.
The first Field Report song I heard was “I Am Not Waiting Anymore.” It served as a welcome entry point for me, and maybe will do the same for you. (So don’t wait anymore!)
Another must-hear track from “Field Report,” available now on Partisan Records, is “Fergus Falls.” Porterfield grew up in Rochester, Minn., just a Twin City or two away from Fergus Falls, Minn.
And here’s a live performance of “Taking Alcatraz,” which includes a little intro where Porterfield explains what his song is about. The intro also helps shed a little light on the fact that, yes, Porterfield is just a Wisconsin dude… but one with a lot of talent.
The Meyer Theatre’s Near Water Concert Series aims to introduce the northeast Wisconsin market to on-the-rise acts (typically indie-skewing) who, if all goes well for the acts career-wise, might not be able to get back to the area once things take off. Previous Near Water shows include Noah Gundersen and the Lumineers.
For more on the Jan. 16 show, visit www.meyertheatre.org.
–Shane Nyman, email@example.com or on Twitter @shanenyman