Field Medic – the musical moniker of Californian, Kevin Patrick Sullivan – has deservedly gained a devoted following since first gifting the world his self-described ‘freak folk’ in 2013. On the back of a prolific output, new album, Floral Prince, has arrived to the acclaim of the critics and converted – complete with the perfect meld of old-time songcraft and unhoned honesty that cuts just as it should.
He spoke to Secret Meeting about some of the influences that left their mark…
Three albums I love
Frou Frou – Details
One album I’m consistently amazed by is Details by Frou Frou. My dad was hip to it right when it came out in 2002. I remember hearing it in the car & being hooked. I took the CD & burned my own copy for my Discman. I listen to this album front to back with no skips probably 20 times a year, & have since it first came out. It holds up so well.
Fionn Regan – The End of History
Another all time for me is The End of History by Fionn Regan. One of my friends sent me the Mp3s for this in 2006 when it was released. On the first listen I couldn’t quite comprehend it, but a week or so later I got my wisdom teeth out & was prescribed painkillers. I plugged the aux into my iPod Classic & proceeded to gurp out laying in bed listening to this album. It finally clicked. I was already obsessed with folk music at that time, but I was leaning more towards traditional folk. Hearing the way Fionn played guitar, crafted songs, & wrote lyrics was a huge inspiration. Also the way he sings so quiet sometimes… He made me want to whisper a little. This is another album I listen to several times a year. No skips. It wasn’t even on streaming until recently, so I had to either listen on vinyl or YouTube. This is one of the first albums I send someone if they ask me for new music.
Joni Mitchell – Blue
This record was an eye opener for me as a songwriter. I remember one day being possessed with the need to listen thoroughly to a Joni Mitchell album, because for some reason… I never had. I pulled up Blue on Rhapsody & listened front to back in the dark. I was so drawn to the her lyrics & chord choices. I also distinctly recall recognising that when her voice would crack at points in certain songs I wasn’t wishing for a better take, it made me like the song more. This was important for because at the time I was insecure about my voice cracking sometimes… I never worried about that again.
A film that I love
A film that I watched semi-recently that I loved is Blue Valentine. I enjoyed how it didn’t try to gloss over the darker side of a relationship or have a happy ending. It felt real.
One book I love
John Muir – My First Summer in The Sierra
I came across this book in the library young adult section which I’ll turn to if I want to get a book that’s certified classic, but don’t have a particular one in mind. I knew nothing about John Muir other than a middle school in the city I grew up in was named after him. This book is a gorgeous recounting of his time in the Sierra Mountains herding sheep. It reads like one long poem, & it speaks to the beauty of nature & the human spirit in a way I’ve never been so moved by before.
One song that’s important
Bladee – Frosty the Snowman
I’ve been listening to almost exclusively Bladee for three or four weeks now… I like all of his songs, but this one I keep coming back to. There’s a couple lines in here I really like. He says: ‘She a nympho/I’m not really shit though,’ which I don’t really understand, but makes me laugh. Then he says, ‘Walk with me/walk away from me/change shape for me/I know you hate on me,’ followed by ‘Frosty the showman/Going I’m going/I don’t see no one/I don’t feel no one.’ It’s pretty broad lyrically speaking, but complimented by the mood of the music it makes me feel like what makes me different is what makes me powerful.
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