Field Medic returns for first headlining show in SF
(photo: Stephen Beebout)
How autobiographical are the songs off this album? We asked Field Medic’s Kevin Patrick.
“100%,” he said. “I don’t really write fiction, I just write
[my] truth…I wouldn’t say it was hard to share these stories but they were definitely cathartic to write.”
Some of the most powerful poetry is that which isn’t complicated, where we’re not spending time dissecting each line but where we hear it for the first time and realize that yes, we connect to this. We’ve been there, too. That’s precisely what Field Medic has achieved with their latest album, Fade into the Dawn. Unlike some of Field Medic’s previous albums, which are more intricately poetic, Dawn is a folk album that’s a little more punk rock in its blunt, yet charming, lyrical delivery.
The album is woven with recurring themes: the struggles of drinking too much, the anxiety around touring and feeling homeless, sleeping on friend’s floors and again: drinking too much. Song “The Bottle’s My Lover, She’s Just My Friend” is painful and pulling. Its opening lines are sung in such forlorn yodels it’s hard not to feel for the song’s narrator, to not picture him lying there, dreaming of sneaking a bottle into bed with him. “I was wrong” has the clever lyrical qualities of a Kinks song (ever heard Muswell Hillbillies?) and daydreams about all the things he’s going to get someday: Dalmatians with rorschach spots, Calicos, mermaids. “One day I’ma gonna have me a calico / Kitty named Joni named after my hero.”
We had to clarify: which Joni and what is Patrick’s true dream pet?
“Well, I’ve always wanted a Dalmatian but I’ve heard they were kind of mean. So maybe a toy poodle or something that doesn’t shed.” And Joni? “I discovered Joni Mitchell the day after I had my wisdom teeth out. I’d heard all this stuff about her album Blue so I put it on my headphones with my Norco and listened to the whole thing and it was amazing…They were these honest recordings that sound really live and real.”
Patrick’s own recording choices are heavily influenced by that lo-fi, live quality production. He just puts a mic somewhere near enough his mouth and guitar in the best way he can get it (a “real shitty setup” were his words). He’ll record each track a few times but says it’s usually the first or second take that’s the one. “I don’t want to fuss with trying to get the “perfect take,” I just do a few and listen for the one I think sounds the most true…I try to let my songs be as they are.”
Well, for a shitty setup, Patrick’s done a real fine job capturing his latest collection. Come out on to the Swedish American Hall on June 1 for Field Medic’s first SF headlining show. Presented by Noise Pop, playing with Rachel Toups and Mister Andrew.
Michelle Kicherer is a fiction writer and music journalist living in Oakland. She writes for several local and national outlets, enjoys long walks and her second novel is in the works. Instagram @michellekicherer