Sufjan Stevens and the Lord God Bird

June 24, 2007

Before we moved here, friends gave me a CD by Sufjan Stevens entitled “Illinois.” I have obsessed over this CD in a way that I thought I had left behind in my teenage years. I listen to it over and over. The lyrics are fine and narrative, with honest and sometimes cerebral introspection about events and place. The music is varied, soft, and accessible. Stevens’s voice is better than mine, but not so much better; his voice is inviting to me because it suggests simplicity and intimacy.  “Illinois” is the second of Stevens’s proposed CD series on all fifty states (the first was entitled “Michigan”). 

Apparently, two radio producers invited Stevens to Brinkley, Arkansas, to explore how he would write music about the people and events that are unique to that place. As you may know, Brinkley is where the ivory-billed woodpecker was sighted after years of being considered extinct. It was first seen on my son’s first birthday, February 11, 2004.

Sufjan Stevens wrote a song and appropriately entitled it “The Lord God Bird,” a common nickname for the ivory-billed woodpecker. The song is available online for free–click here to listen, right-click and save to download. As a semi-Arkansan, I hope this means that Stevens is planning an “Arkansas” follow-up to “Illinois” very soon.

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2 Responses to “Sufjan Stevens and the Lord God Bird”

  1. Songbird Says:

    I love his music. My sons introduced me to him. His Christmas collection became an instant classic in our family. I agree that there is something infectious about a singer who is better than I am, but not so fine that I don’t feel I should sing along. I look forward to listening to “The Lord God Bird.”

  2. sheepdays Says:

    I’ve read about the Christmas album but haven’t heard it. We’ll have to get it before this year’s season. If you have access to “Illinois,” check out the first track about the UFO sighting in Highland, IL. It occurred right up the road from where we live now, and coincidentally, this is the best track on the record.


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