January 7, 2013

Fuel/Friends Chapel Session #20: Field Report

I’ve spent the last three days wrestling my blankets in a haze of fever dreams, hours passing in what feels like minutes and vice-versa. The soundtrack to much of my (stupid stupid mean) flu has fittingly been the impressionistic complexity of Field Report in these recordings from Shove Chapel earlier in the fall.

Even before I roadtested this music to my own actual fever dreams, that’s long been one of the best descriptors I could come up with for how Chris Porterfield’s rich songs wrestle over failings and threads of stories long forgotten. In the same way that time out of mind through fevers makes all sorts of strange threads of memory surface, these songs draw you into stories as if you’ve already heard them. Listening for the first time feels like remembering. Porterfield is a master at using odd metaphors that require you to just sort of accept them before they make sense.

I’ve been so deeply entranced by Field Report, and tangled up in their debut record ever since it first surfaced in my life in the icy springtime. The purity and urgency made it one of my favorites of 2012, and I think that all three album songs in this session outshine the renditions on the record. This band is a jaw-dropping talent, and it’s evident from these recordings that touring has only strengthened their songs. Go see them in 2013.


Taking Alcatraz
This is ostensibly a story about the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, but it is also a song about staking your battles and pushing back against fears. “If I die here, well — at least I made a choice.”

Circle Drive
This song feels exactly like a string of long, late-night hospital visits, the sterile and dehumanizing blur between the living and the dying. I prefer the slow weariness in this version to the album version. Nick’s sweet piano cadence kills me here, as does the simple way that Chris states, “I am still your man. Some days we do the best we can.” He also leaves out the line, “we’re doing fine” in this rendition, which is good because I wouldn’t believe him anyways.

Borrowed Tune (Neil Young)

Whoa whoa. The caged energy of this video is mesmerizing, and Chris does absolute justice to the thin-voiced strained urgency of Neil Young’s ripoff of the Rolling Stones. One of my favorite covers we’ve recorded in the church.

Fergus Falls
You wake up suddenly in the middle of this quietly sad story, a song that doesn’t have the courtesy to fill us in on any of the important details that came before. Someone is reminding me about the time ten years ago when their wings iced up in the fall, and the whole thing feels like a dream. This version is slower and warmer, and feels like swimming towards the surface.

I feel like this whole record is about swimming towards the surface.


[audio production by the wonderful guys at Blank Tape Records, video by the always-terrific Kevin Ihle]


  • Awesome, just awesome. Thank you for the work it takes to make these happen.

    Billsville House — January 7, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  • Nice! I love this band.

    Shirk — January 7, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  • This is wonderful….thanks so much!


    Todd Haywood — January 7, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  • Awesome!
    I’ve been entranced by their debut album since I saw them open for the Counting Crows here in KC…
    Thank you.

    Barry — January 7, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  • Thank you. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful.

    Samantha Morelli — January 7, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

  • Thank you Heather. Just amazing!

    J. Powell — January 8, 2013 @ 7:30 am

  • I GASPED when I saw that you had posted this. I am in love with the Field Report, and owe it all to your writing about them earlier this year. Thanks for continuing to provide access to such gorgeous music.

    NSJL — January 8, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

  • [...] Tune’ is truly breathtaking. Enjoy (and grab the session for yourself- and for free- right here). Share this:EmailDiggFacebookRedditPrintTwitterStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

    ‘Borrowed Tune’ (Neil Young cover)- Field Report | songsfortheday — January 8, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

  • So glad that I got to play a small part in their visit and to discover their music. Kind, humble people making amazing original music… Field Report was my favorite musical find for 2012! Thanks, Heather!

    Mike Kimlicko — January 9, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

  • [...] Also really lost my shit for a couple of days on the Field Report Chapel Session over at I Am Fuel, You Are Friends blog.  I loved the album and it was a top 10 for the year right here on Slowcoustic, so why [...]

    Slowcoustic weekly round up – Early January Edition! | Slowcoustic — January 13, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  • Links aren’t working – can either the individual mp3s or the zip file be reposted?

    Paul Johnson — January 14, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  • [...] Download This: Field Report – Fuel/Friend’s Chapel Session #20 [...]

    Hidden Track » Bloggy Goodness: Dave Grohl, Blues Traveler, Jakob Dylan & More on Marc Maron’s WTF with Marc Maron Podcast — January 17, 2013 @ 6:56 am

  • I just saw them last month when they stopped by Eau Claire for a concert- just amazing; intense and amazing voice. Justin Vernon even popped in for awhile to watch his old bandmate. Great concert, intimate. Field Report is just incredible!

    Mike — April 18, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

  • […] watch, fall in love and if you want to, click here for a download of the whole […]

    Field Report Video - Kim Loves Stuff - — August 2, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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