Field Report

Field Report

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Field Report Review

by Steve Leggett

Eau Claire, Wisconsin's DeYarmond Edison was kind of a 21st century free folk Americana version of Buffalo Springfield, the band that launched the separate careers of Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and Richie Furay, and thus gave us Crazy Horse, Poco, CSN and CSNY, and other configurations. DeYarmond Edison gave us Justin Vernon, best known by his new moniker Bon Iver, Megafaun (Phil Cook, Brad Cook, and Joe Westerlund), and now, Chris Porterfield, who may well turn out to be the best songwriter to come out of DeYarmond Edison. Porterfield's songs, influenced by Nebraska and Tunnel of Love-era Bruce Springsteen, Blood on the Tracks-era Bob Dylan, the lyrically perfect and exact songs of Paul Simon, and the mock-political and surreal epics of Neil Young, are hauntingly detailed narratives sung with the heart, soul, and haunting personal passion of a stronger-voiced Leonard Cohen, and the best of them, like the opener here, "Fergus Falls," reveal themselves in muted, hushed, and quietly unfolding arrangements that let Porterfield carry the narrative, which itself builds and unfolds in richly nuanced detail. Porterfield is a magnificent songwriter, and the years he spent honing these songs to a rich edge shows in this debut album. Field Report isn't a rock band, and it isn't exactly a folk band, either, but it's a band that lets the songs be front and center, and everything tracked here goes to that aim. It would all add up to another listen-to-it-once bit of over-serious Americana noir if the songs weren't so good. But they're good. They're very good. This is a wonderful debut.

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