BOOT & SADDLE

1131 S. Broad Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Joe Pug

Joe Pug

Field Report (solo)

Wed, April 29, 2015

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

The Boot & Saddle

Philadelphia, PA

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Joe Pug
Joe Pug
If the opening notes on Joe Pug’s new LP “Windfall” are a bit disorienting, his fans won’t likely be surprised. The Austin, TX singer songwriter has made a habit of defying expectations so the piano-driven “Bright Beginnings” and the atmospheric rumination of “Great Hosannas” are just further indication that he’s quite comfortable stepping outside of the guy-with-a-guitar trappings of the genre.

His rise has been as improbable as it has been impressive. After dropping out of college and taking on work as a carpenter in Chicago, he got his musical start by providing CDs for his fans to pass along to their friends. This led to a string of sold out shows and a record deal with Nashville indie Lightning Rod Records (Jason Isbell, Billy Joe Shaver). As he toured behind “Messenger” (2010) and The Great Despiser (2012) it was with a band that looked as much like a jazz trio as an Americana band. ”I never quite found a live band that captured what I was aiming for until I connected with Greg [Tuohey--electric guitar] and Matt [Schuessler--upright bass]. It was an arrangement that maybe didn’t make a ton of sense on paper but 10 minutes into the first rehearsal I knew this was going to be my band.” The following years would have them on the road for over four hundred shows, including stops at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and The Newport Folk Festival.

The relentless grind of four years of nonstop touring had taken its toll though, and by late 2013 he was ready to call it quits. The tour that fall was a runaway success but his personal and creative lives were a different story. ”It was this surreal dichotomy. Everyone kept congratulating me on how well the tour was going, and the mood was probably the best it had ever been on the road. We finally got two hotel rooms in each city instead of one. We’ve got this incredible group of die-hard fans that somehow make each show bigger than our previous trip through town. Meanwhile my relationship was in shambles and creatively I was at a dead end. There was absolutely no joy left in playing music. So we walked off stage after a particular show when I played terribly, and pulled my manager aside in the green room and told him to cancel the rest of the tour dates and that I was essentially through.”

But studio time was already scheduled and deadlines had been set for a new record, so after a few weeks Pug was back to the business of writing songs. “In retrospect, I was in a very unhealthy place. I was sitting in a room with the blinds shut and a notebook, forcing out words that weren’t there and drinking astonishing amounts of bourbon. I was looking at it as a job….as a business obligation, and that is a very slippery slope.” At that point he decided to make good on his promise from the previous tour. The album was put on indefinite hold. “I just needed to start behaving like a human being again. I needed to reconnect with my girlfriend. I needed to eat healthy food. I needed to go enjoy live music as a fan. I really needed to make sure I still loved making music, because I really had my doubts at that point.”

The resulting layoff paid dividends in spades. When Pug set up camp in Lexington KY in 2014 to record, he did so with some of the best songs he has ever written. The agenda was much simpler than previous albums. “The aim on this one was very straightforward. We wanted to capture the music just the way we play it, with minimal production. It was a very back to basics approach because ultimately that’s what I love about music, and that’s what I love about making music. I wanted to record these songs the way they were written and put them out in the world.” The result is a collection of songs that are as close as we’ve gotten to a road map to Pug’s ambitions. He has collected plenty of the requisite Dylan comparisons over his young career but on this record it’s easier to hear the sway of more contemporary influences like Josh Ritter, Ryan Adams and M.Ward.

The theme of resilience plays a central role throughout Windfall. The weary protagonist in “Veteran Fighter” wills his way further down the highway despite the gloom that seems certain to overtake him. ”The Measure”, a song inspired in part by Frederic Buechner’s novel Godric, marvels at ”every inch of anguish, laid out side by side” but ultimately finds that “All we’ve lost is nothing to what we’ve found.” ”I never really write songs with a specific narrative in mind,” Pug explains. “When you’re sort of pushing through a dark period of your life it’s probably inevitable that some of that is going to find its way onto the page. But in the same way, by the time we were in the studio the process had become very effortless and joyful. And hopefully you can hear a lot of that on the record as well.” This duality appears perhaps most overtly in the album-closing stunner “If Still It Can’t Be Found”, which features Pat Sansone of Wilco guesting on mellotron.

If it’s not around this corner it’s around the next
If it’s not beyond this river it’s beyond the next
And if still it can’t be found
It’s prob’ly for the best

As the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well.” Joe Pug didn’t call it quits after all. He’s engaged to be married and still drinks bourbon on occasion. His new album, Windfall, will be released March 10, 2015 on Lightning Rod Records in the US and Loose Music in Europe.
Field Report (solo)
Field Report (solo)
Field Report is the creation of Chris Porterfield, who cut his musical teeth with DeYarmond Edison (the other members of which were Justin Vernon/Bon Iver and Megafaun). After their breakup in 2006, Bon Iver and Megafaun went on to success while Chris hung back in Wisconsin, thinking his career in music was over. It was really just beginning. For the first time in his life, he began writing his own songs, which he spent the following five years carefully divining, killing off, revising, and honing. In December 2011, the record was finally recorded at Vernon's studio (with engineer Beau Sorenson).

Porterfield explains, "We began to feel like it was time to make a record in the fall of 2011. Around that time, Bon Iver was touring, and came through Milwaukee. I was talking with Justin, and he said that he had heard through the grapevine that I finally had found the right people to play with. He invited us to use his space. We were particularly interested in recording at his studio (April Base) because of the large live room. We wanted to capture the sound of a band in a moment. We specifically brought Beau [Sorenson] in for this reason, and for his love of later Talk Talk."

The result is a haunting set of songs that's crafty, lyrical, and poignant. After sending a few unfinished tracks to select people, the response was immediate and impactful: producer Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, Warren Zevon, The Pixies, Uncle Tupelo) fell in love with them and offered to mix the record, which he did in February 2012. The songs were also met with acclaim from many SXSW presenters, resulting in invitations to play at several high-profile showcases.

This momentum continued into the spring, as Rolling Stone's feature on the band championed them as "poised to break out in 2012." The sentiment was echoed by several other prominent media outlets such as SPIN, Pitchfork, Stereogum, and more. The most common praise has touched upon Field Report's narrative lyrical content, citing Porterfield's poetic prowess. "The songs always start out with the words," says Porterfield, "If I don't have something to say, there isn't a point for this band to make music."

After one of the pre-released tracks from the album, "Taking Alcatraz," launched into the top 10 most downloaded blog tracks worldwide, Field Report accepted an opening spot on the national Counting Crows summer tour, once lead singer Adam Duritz heard the songs. "It is undeniable when you listen to Field Report," Duritz enthused to Rolling Stone, "This is just great music."

All this took place within two months of their first gig (between March and May, 2012). This summer, Field Report plans to tour relentlessly and allow fans to have the entire album digitally free-of-charge. "We understand that today people are more motivated to get music for free than to pay for it. We want to remove the barriers and the gatekeepers," says Porterfield. "What's important to us is that people who want to hear our music are able to do so, in the way we created it to be heard."

Having a uniquely direct connection with fans is something Field Report has already emphasized. They have music freely downloadable on their site (www.field-report.org) as well as a phone number where fans can text a question directly to the band (414-215-9956).
Venue Information:
The Boot & Saddle
1131 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19147
http://www.bootandsaddlephilly.com