Smile Politely

A Sun Came

Sufjan Stevens

Fluttering instrumentation and wafting voices succumb to a crescendo of cymbals. Horns blow alongside the ivory keys as the banjo keeps time. Sufjan Stevens’ carefully crafted songs border on heavenly, and the man with a pocket full of talent will be playing his ethereal songs for a sold-out show at the Highdive tomorrow night.

The Michigan native started Asthmatic Kitty with his stepfather and recorded his first album A Sun Came on the label in 2000. In the year 2001 Stevens came out with a second album Enjoy Your Rabbit. It was then that Stevens decided to begin working on his Fifty States Project (recording an album about all fifty states). The first of the series was about his home turf, named Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State.


His next album Seven Swans is more religiously themed than his others. Its soft banjo is delicate, strong and eternal. “The Dress Looks Nice On You” showcases his instrumental and vocal techniques in a perfectly melancholy arrangement.

For his second album of the states, Stevens chose our humble home state. Come on Feel the Illinoise was acclaimed as album of the year in 2005 by a number of music critics. The album makes references to Highland, Jacksonville, Decatur and Chicago along with our celebration of Casimir Pulaski Day, John Wayne Gacy, prairie fires and the Rock River Valley Region. The utterly touching 22 tracks hit closer to home than simply their titles.

Tomorrow night will be Stevens’ first appearance in Illinois since the release of Come on Feel the Illinoise. The fact that the show sold out in mere minutes is testament to his loyalty to the Midwest and his immense talent. For those of you lucky enough to make it tomorrow night, enjoy the show.

Doors open at 6 p.m., Cryptacize plays at 7 and Sufjan Stevens is on at 8.

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