Event Detail Page

The Mountain Goats
Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:

The Mountain Goats

with Field Medic
Doors: 6:00 pm | Show: 7:00 pm
All Ages
District Music Hall
Norwalk, CT

This event is General Admission Standing Room Only on the Floor, and Reserved Seated in the Balcony.


Jenny from Thebes began its life as many albums by the Mountain Goats do, with John Darnielle playing the piano until a lyric emerged. That lyric, “Jenny was a warrior / Jenny was a thief / Jenny hit the corner clinic begging for relief,” became “Jenny III,” a song which laid down a challenge he’d never taken up before: writing a sequel to one of his most beloved albums.

The Mountain Goats’ catalog is thick with recurring characters—Jenny, who originally appears in the All Hail West Texas track bearing her name, as well as in “Straight Six” from Jam Eater Blues and Transcendental Youth side two jam “Night Light,” is one of these, someone who enters a song unexpectedly, pricking up the ears of fans who are keen on continuing the various narrative threads running through the Mountain Goats’ discography before vanishing into the mist. In these songs, Jenny is largely defined by her absence, and she is given that definition by other characters. She is running from something. These features are beguiling, both to the characters who’ve told her story so far and to the listener. They invite certain questions: Who is Jenny, really? What is she running from? Well, she’s a warrior and a thief, and, this being an album by the Mountain Goats, it’s a safe bet whatever she’s fleeing is something bad. Something catastrophically bad.

Jenny from Thebes is the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch style house, the people for whom that house is a place of safety, and the west Texas town that is uncomfortable with its existence. It is a story about the individual and society, about safety and shelter and those who choose to provide care when nobody else will.

This is what a follow-up to All Hail West Texas entails. But if you think about the Mountain Goats as they were in 2001, when Darnielle wrote and recorded that album on his own, mostly into his Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox, and how they are now as the recording and touring outfit of Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster, you may find yourself asking how. That occurred to Darnielle, too.

“If we’re going to do a sequel to a record that was recorded almost entirely on a boombox,” he asks, “why not do the opposite and make it as big as possible?”

Decamping to Tulsa, Oklahoma’s legendary The Church Studio with Grammy-winning producer/engineer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions), that is exactly what the Mountain Goats did. Jenny from Thebes is a lush collection of showtunes, pushing Darnielle as a vocalist and the Mountain Goats as a band, broadening their sonic palette once again by leaning into influences like Godspell, Jim Steinman, and The Cars. The resulting album cuts a path that is simultaneously full of allusions longtime Mountain Goats fans will spin entire mythologies from while also being their most inviting record for those who’ve yet to be converted to the cause.

Lifted by Matt Douglas’ horn and string arrangements, the dreamy guitar of Bully leader (and Bleed Out producer) Alicia Bognanno, and backing vocals from Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s (“Only One Way,” “Same as Cash,” “Going to Dallas”) and Matt Nathanson (“Fresh Tattoo”), Jenny from Thebes is a widescreen musical in scope, a melodrama of richly detailed characters and sweeping emotions.

The west Texas the Mountain Goats conjure for Jenny is huge and already crumbling to the ground when we meet her in lead single “Clean Slate,” where a new arrival to the safehouse finds it nearly full, his host beyond exhaustion. Her burdens are heavy, and the measures they cause her to take have consequences that scale well beyond anything she could have anticipated when she decided to open her home to others. Such gestures are noble and doomed.

“You can’t be the person everyone relies on to take care of them and keep them safe for too long,” Darnielle says of the reality of these spaces. “It eventually causes so much stress that it threatens to break you.”

Ironically, that same stress makes it impossible for Jenny to see that she’s on the verge of being broken until it’s too late. Explaining the title of the album, Darnielle notes that Jenny is not unlike a character from Greek literature, someone on the verge of an unimaginable tragedy whose signs and portents will not make themselves known to her until she finds herself amidst the wreckage. “These things never happen in isolation,” he says. “One bad event leads to and is the reason for another bad event. Jenny should know that you can’t keep a safehouse in a west Texas town, but she’s too wrapped up in the process and has to go through the loss to understand how it happened.”

Whether or not she comes to understand how it happened, the events of Jenny from Thebes set Jenny on the run. A woman and her custom yellow and black Kawasaki held in the memories of a vanishing few, someone who held the gate for as long as she could, as a warrior might, before disappearing into the night like a thief.

Links: Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify


For ten years, Kevin Patrick Sullivan has been releasing music as Field Medic — and he's released a lot of it. Depending on how you choose to catalog his vast and varied discography, the Los Angeles-based songwriter has released five full-lengths and more EPs and singles than can be easily counted, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. Sullivan's latest record, light is gone 2, is something of a spiritual sequel to his 2015 debut full-length, but it also marks a sonic shift, deconstructing Field Medic as we know it in order to start an exciting new chapter.

light is gone 2 arrives less than a year after Field Medic's 2022 album, Grow Your Hair Long If You're Wanting to See Something That You Can Change, and its creation began parallel to that release. "I started recording some of these songs at the same time as the last record," Sullivan explains. "I was feeling a bit bored of making folk music and was listening to a lot of Trap music, and it inspired me to experiment more with digital recording and different kinds of production." He began breaking apart his songs, keeping the hooks and diary-like lyricism but replacing the folkier elements with 808s and synths. "At the time I felt like I didn't really have the skills to make the songs sound the way I wanted them to, so I set them aside," Sullivan says. "But then this past year I spent more time working on my side project, paper rose haiku, and learning more about production. I started to dive back into the songs, just trying to use new sounds that I wouldn't normally use, intentionally trying to make them not like acoustic folk songs."

The process felt invigorating: more than just a songwriting exercise, it also opened up a whole new sonic toolbox to explore. "I think as the creator it does a service to the songs to make the experience of writing exciting again. When you're having fun doing it, it translates into the songs," Sullivan explains. "I wanted to make choices where I didn't have anything else in mind except for me and the things I like." While the sound may be very different, the spirit of the recordings harkens back to Field Medic's initial LP, light is gone. Where that album marked a turning point in Sullivan's abilities with the four-track tape recorder, light is gone 2 is defined by his breakthrough with digital and multi-track recording. "I've always loved Trap music and New Wave music," Sullivan says. "I used to try and incorporate those with keyboards and beats back in my lofi days, but now I feel like I've finally figured those elements out." Another benefit of Sullivan's foray into digital recording was the ability to enlist the help of Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, Tegan and Sara, The Decemberists), who mixed the album remotely from Norway. "I feel like he just really worked his magic," Sullivan says. "He's very artistically-minded so when I would say something like 'I just want the vocal to feel sort of underwater but not drowning,' he would really understand that sort of language."

The result is a Field Medic record like no other. Bathed in shimmering synths and powered by a steady drum machine pulse, light is gone 2 feels like a widescreen, 3D version of Sullivan's work — one that manages to step wholeheartedly into electronic territory while retaining the essential rawness and humanity that makes Field Medic's music so compelling. Opening track "they all seem so happy" pulls a bait and switch, starting with gentle fingerpicked acoustics before a rush of 808s and keyboards pivots the song into a quasi Trap ballad.

The song also introduces some of the lyrical themes of light is gone 2. "A lot of these songs are sort of reflections on trying to be a working artist," Sullivan says. "I started trying to do this when I was 19 and I'm 32 now. There's always something to be made — more music, a video, a flier, whatever. And I think sometimes I would almost feel like I lost myself as Kevin amongst the character that is Field Medic. A lot of this record is about the isolation and dissociation that comes from focusing all your energy on trying to 'make it." It can feel like a real rat race when you're in a bad state of mind, but I think this record has really reminded me that there aren't really any rules in music." Songs like the buoyant indie pop of "TSION" or the swooning new wave of "iwanthis2last!" are shining examples of Sullivan's try-anything approach, while "without you i'd have nothing (& i might even be dead)" and "mass market paperback" seamlessly blend classic Field Medic instrumentation with bubbling production flourishes and inventive use of autotune.

If there's one thing that's clear in all of Field Medic's work, it's Sullivan's unbridled enthusiasm for creating, and throughout light is gone 2 there's a palpable sense of joy in exploring new sounds and styles. "Releasing a lot of music is part of what makes it fun for me," he says. "I like getting it done and getting it out. I just love to be spontaneous, maybe even a little reckless, but I think there's a story to be told in songs and that doesn't need to be perfect — it needs to capture a moment." Sullivan's prolific nature isn't impatience, it's instinct, and it's a necessity for a songwriter who simply loves writing songs. "It's the one thing I really enjoy," he says. "It's a daily exercise — I think that's maybe why I don't worry about much of anything else other than the song itself. I know I'm gonna make a song today, and then I'm gonna do it again tomorrow."

Links: Official Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify