Field Report "Marigolden"

If winter is a time for introspection and isolation, then Marigolden is a perfect companion for short days and lonesome nights. It’s the latest release from the Milwaukee-based band Field Report whose name is an anagram of the surname of singer/songwriter Christopher Porterfield. He first gained attention as a member of the band DeYarmond Edison, a unit that also featured Justin Vernon who went on to form Bon Iver.

Like his former bandmate, Porterfield creates moody, atmospheric songs. Whereas Vernon’s landscape is created through intense musicality, Porterfield builds his songs on a foundation of dense, poetic lyrics. Home, as both concept and place, is a theme throughout the album, and one that he writes about with a fierce passion. Alcohol is another subject that weaves into nearly every song. If struggle with loneliness and its effects is central to the album’s theme, Porterfield approaches it with a hopefulness that keeps his songs from sinking into darkness. Even in winter’s darkest days we have days of dazzling light. Indeed the cold season had an impact on the album. Porterfield and his band produced the project in the midst of an Ontario blizzard.

Marigolden is more singer/songwriter in nature than a band album. Porterfield sifts through emotions. Touring constantly over the past two years he yearns for his wife and dog, and for the sanity of being settled. The temptations of life on the road erode his confidence, but also offer epiphanies.  His delivery matches the mood of the songs, from resignation, to tempered optimism. His poetry can be odd and unsettling. The music is roots based, with sparse arrangements that glimmer with unexpected elements from synthesizer to banjo.

Field Report play Club Café on Wednesday, January 14th

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)