Wisconsin's Field Report center around the narrative songs of Chris Porterfield (the band name is actually an anagram of Porterfield's last name), songs that, at their best, recall the writing and feel present on albums like Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, and Paul Simon's Hearts and Bones in their hushed and passionate detail. Born in Minnesota, Porterfield moved to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was a member of the folk-rock group DeYarmond Edison with Justin Vernon, Phil Cook, Brad Cook, and Joe Westerlund. When the band decided to relocate to North Carolina in 2006, Porterfield opted to stay in Wisconsin. Vernon eventually left the band, going out on his own under the name Bon Iver, while the remaining members of DeYarmond Edison became the freak folk outfit Megafaun, and both incarnations had critical success.
Porterfield, who had never really written songs before, spent a couple years writing a batch of songs on guitar, refining and reworking them, trying them out at open-mike and songwriter nights in Milwaukee, where he now lived, under the name Conrad Plymouth. In time Porterfield assembled a band, which included Nick Berg on keys, Travis Whitty on bass, Damian Strigens on drums, Jeff Mitchell on baritone guitar, and Ben Lester on pedal steel. Field Report were born, and the band developed a sparse, hushed, and intimate backdrop to Porterfield's intricately detailed and very lyrical narrative songs, the best of which, like "Fergus Falls," "I Am Not Waiting Anymore," and "Route 18," conjure up Nebraska-era Springsteen, Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan, or the long epic personal passion songs of Leonard Cohen, and sometimes all of these at once.
Vernon and Porterfield touched base when Bon Iver toured in Milwaukee; Vernon offered Porterfield the use of his April Base studio in Eau Claire when Field Report were ready to record, and in December of 2011, the band met at April Base and recorded a self-titled debut album with engineer Beau Sorenson. The project was then mixed by Paul Kolderie in February 2012 and appeared from Partisan Records the following September, garnering almost immediate critical acclaim. The band's sophomore long-player, the Robbie Lackritz-produced Marigolden, followed in 2014. Returning in January 2018, Porterfield channeled the anxiety of becoming a new father into the band's deeply personal third album, Summertime Songs. ~ Steve Leggett