Being moved to tears by live music is one thing – the confluence of proximity and energy can be powerful – but have you ever been moved to tears by something you heard on the radio? I had that singular experience once, not long after I had hosted Christopher Porterfield and Nick Berg for a night as they passed through Cleveland on their way to shows with Strand of Oaks and Yellow Ostrich in New York City. I tuned in to a little low-end-of-the-dial folk show to hear them play, as Conrad Plymouth, a little in-studio set with Timothy Showalter (a.k.a. Strand of Oaks). I expected it to be fun to hear my friends on the radio, and I expected it to be lovely, but I didn’t expect, as they played “Fergus Falls”, a song I’d listened to so many times, to be made weepy.
This is their gift, to reach right into your chest, gently pull out your heart and show you all the amazing things inside you. Inside humans. On Comrade Plymouth, Christopher Porterfield’s new solo record, he does it again. To paraphrase writer Raymond Chandler’s description of colleague Dashiell Hammett, Porterfield writes lyrics that seem never to have been written before. They don’t beg or shout to be heard, but you will stop to listen.
Have a listen to a couple of my favorite tracks:
Comrade Plymouth is available now via Conrad Plymouth’s Bandcamp on a name-your-own-price basis.