Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
Christopher Porterfield and Milwaukee band Field Report take us to the scenes of previous battles. They take us to places, where the air's died down quite a lot, where you'd never guessed there to have been a struggle, where there's amazingly enough, too much beauty to behold. It knocks the fucking breath right out of your chest, everything that surrounds you, lush and pristinely green. These are places that once witnessed wayward and heated passions, places that feel a little dampened now - heavy with a dew or heavy with a perspiration, sitting there.
They make claims to small houses and big pastures where decades or centuries of life have already passed through, where there have been countless attempts at getting things right. There have been cockleburs and thorns. There have been wrung and blistered hands. There have been shaken heads and slumped shoulders. There have been broken glasses amid the speechless and sleepless nights. Porterfield finds ways to reproduce and readdress the many nights that have accumulated that are nothing but the most vivid and cinematically interesting moments that a man will ever have.
The depths of their offerings is intense. They are communions for those who have felt themselves choke on time and on the grace that could have pulled them through if they'd just possessed it. The people that move slowly through these songs are occupying the dim nights where the only thing to do is sip on 50-cent beer and look at the photos in your wallet that you haven't changed in more years that you can count - of the bygones and mostly of the people whose love for you has changed too much to even know where to start. There's nothing that resembles the way things used to be.
The hearts - they've all changed. They've all gone on to live for other things. They've followed around the same bodies - just because they have to, the attachment and all, but they've wandered and they've strayed. The older I get, the more I think I understand what can make me fall to my knees in admiration - because of the pure splendor that it radiates. Field Report gets us to that place.
When Porterfield sings about being "crippled by joy," it's also his way of telling us about being crippled by pain as well. It feels like there's something good and happy trying to squeeze out of these songs - songs that are wearing the uneven and rotting floor out of that house of memories - but it tends only to peek. It's what makes us weep and it's what makes us yearn for more stories just like these. Strangely pain can be inspirational when it comes to us like this.