Learning My Chords Over Again

A Reflection on Seeing Field Medic in NYC.

Lillian G Lippold

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Photograph by me ❤

I’ve recently realized that how often I’m writing is directly attached to how often I’m seeing live music. Doesn’t even need to be good! I think we can all recognize how absurdly good it feels to dance in a sea of nicotine-addicted music goers. I get butterflies each time a musician makes eye contact with me at the barricade, even if they’re a friend I’ve known for years, a friend I’ve seen cry. A good bass player, yelling “shredding” at someone playing the electric guitar, an absolutely fire drum solo by a very bored drummer, these are my hypotheses as to why seeing concerts all the time is making me more creative.

All this to say, I’m very, very lucky to live in Brooklyn. Is there a chart somewhere that shows how many indie musicians there are per capita in major US cities? I think Brooklyn, specific Bushwick would be at the top of that list, a big red circle filled with rooftop shows and 30-minute sets in nearly empty venues. I love it. It’s so wonderful to watch people try at things, to see the ache to be discovered, whatever that means, in each song.

All this to say, I’ve most been watching Brooklyn artists perform lately, specifically artists around my age who went to one of the few major NYC arts schools and studied something like I’m studying. Because of this, watching Field Medic perform last monday at Bowery Ballroom was really something special.

There’s something about Field Medic, stage name for Kevin Patrick Sullivan, that has always stood out to me in the sea of American folk(?) emo(?) musicians that I adore. Is it something about his distinct look, the feeling that he cuts his hair in his bathroom and is very, very good at it? Or perhaps it’s the harmonica he plays sometimes; harmonica can make every song better.

For me, I think I’ve narrowed my reasons for adoring Field Medic down to two.

1 // The cowboy sound.

Field Medic really claims writing “cowboy tunes,” something I believe he even asserted onstage. Oh, the cowboy! Absolute charmer of Americana! Field Medic feels like a cowboy when he performs; he bops around and sways against the mic stand while playing guitar, harmonica (yes!), and singing power ballad after power ballad.

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Lillian G Lippold

MN to VC to BK. writer of all sorts and freelance editor. they/them.