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This afternoon, On the Verge presented to listeners the next band they’ll want to keep an eye on/be obsessed with: Field Report. Though their self-titled debut album was only released in September of this year, Field Report has a promising future ahead of them. The Wisconsin alternative-folk band stopped by the WERS studio with three of their members; Chris Porterfield (guitar and vocals), Shane Leonard (banjo and fiddle), and Nick Berg (piano). Bundled up in thick sweaters, they looked ready for the day’s cold weather.
After practicing for several minutes, Field Report was ready to play. Their first song was off their latest album and titled “Taking Alcatraz,” which captured the attention of everyone in the studio. The quiet simplicity of the song was relaxing and beautiful. Porterfield’s voice provided a richness that added warmth to the calm of the guitar, piano, and banjo
The second song the band played was “Fergus Falls,” the opening track off the album. Porterfield explained that this was written from the perspective of a woman, going on to describe his process of songwriting as something much deeper than just recording his thoughts. “There’s a lot of stuff on the record where the narrator isn’t necessarily me. That’s the cool thing about songs, you can take some license and treat it like a work of fiction or a short story or a poem… A lot of times, I like to let other characters speak for me or from a different perspective of something that maybe I am looking at or experiencing.”
Field Report has opened for popular groups such as Counting Crows and Aimee Mann, but the positive feedback on their debut album was still a pleasant surprise. This is one of the traits of the band that makes them so appealing; their sound is completely organic and honest. Porterfield says, “We didn’t really know who we were talking to or if it was going to be many people or what it was we were doing. We just kind of did what we needed to do for ourselves. And for people to respond to that and to meet it on their on terms with their own experiences and have a reaction to it, that’s really validating.”
So when can fans expect more music? They are always writing music, as well as re-writing. Porterfield explains that the album is merely a snapshot of who the band was while they recorded. He describes each song as a “living, breathing, thing” that can be constantly worked on as the band evolves.
Though Field Report may sounds like seasoned professionals, they also realize how new and special the experience of touring on their debut album is. “For everybody [in the band] this is a brand new thing, this is just beginning now.” Porterfield explains. “So we’re just going to continue to stay patient and stay hungry and keep trying to do good, honest work. It’s a lot of fun.” It’s a lot of fun for listeners too.