tomorrow night is the last part of my singer-songwriter concert trifecta, with sufjan stevens performing at the wiltern. i've only been aware of sufjan since illinois came out last year, but in the time since i have bought everything i could from him. he is a remarkable artist, in terms of lyrics, his arrangements, and the sheer quantity of instruments that he plays. from the liner notes of illinois:
"sufjan stevens plays the following instruments: acoustic guitar, piano, wurlitzer, electric bass, drum kit, electric guitar, oboe, miriam's alto saxophone, sunmin's flute, daniel's banjo and/or matt's banjo, depending on which one was in tune), shara's glockenspiel, laura's rickety accordion, a rented vibraphone, various recorders (sufjan owns the tenor, soprano, and sopranino, but he borrowed monique's alto), a casiotone mt-70, sleigh bells, shakers, tambourine, triangle, and a baldwin electric church organ."
okay, so that might be a bit pretentious, as could be said of his supposed plan to record an album for all 50 states (he has completed two). and as could be said of his outrageous song titles ("the black hawk war, or, how to demolish an entire civilization and still feel good about yourself in the morning, or, we apologize for the inconvenience but you're going to have to leave now, or, 'i have fought the big knives and will continue to fight them until they are off our lands!'", anyone?). but you have to give credit where credit is due, and this is one talented man. the other thing about sufjan that i find interesting is the religious overtone which sometimes marks his music. he has written many overtly christian songs with deeply religious lyrics, but he never comes across as preachy. i always feel that he is singing about what he believes in, and never what he thinks the listener should believe in. that kind of tolerance is what i think is missing from a lot of other christian music, making it unappealing to me. and i would also say that it's what i think is missing from a lot of believers, regardless of creed, and one doesn't have to look far to see the kind of effects that religious intolerance has on the world.
with that, here are some sufjan rarities:
sufjan stevens : "borderline" (
from the compilation comes with a smile, vol. 11 - hope isn't a word (comes with a smile, 2004)
sufjan stevens : "opie's funeral song" (
from the compilation mews too: an asthmatic kitty compilation (asthmatic kitty, 2006)
sufjan stevens : "the friendly beasts" (
from the compilation see you on the moon! songs for kids of all ages (universal music can, 2006)
sufjan stevens : "variation on 'commemorative transfiguration & communion at magruder park" (
from the compilation i am the resurrection: a tribute to john fahey (vanguard records, 2006)
EDIT 10.10.06 : what i thought of this show and a FAVOR -- to anyone who was there at the show: i was down in the pit but i forgot to retrieve my ticket stub after the show was over and, as someone who saves each one, i am absolutely heartbroken. i have the stub from nearly every show i've been to, and to think i wouldn't have this one is not sitting well with me. so, if anyone happens to have an extra stub or just does not care to keep theirs, i would be eternally grateful to you if you could send it my way. since i was down in the pit, i would prefer to get one of those, but any other location would also be okay. if you can help me i would be soooooooo grateful. i'll keep my fingers crossed......