Sufjan Stevens – Early Years w/Danielson

News Flash!!


A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sufjan Stevens started his venture in the music world as a member of Marzuki, a folk-rock band based in Holland, MI. Following the release of two full-length albums with the group, Stevens decided to go solo in late 1999, investing fully in a career that was waiting to shine by itself. During subsequent months, Stevens moved to New York City, where he continued dedicating himself full-time to his solo recordings. Sun Came, his debut album, appeared in 2000, confirming his superior musical command, complex instrumentation, and sparkling melodies. The promotion of the disc included playing on the road with the Danielson Famile, with whom he began regularly working. Enjoy Your Rabbit, his second album, hit record stores in 2001, underlining once more his unusual instrumentation and excellent compositions. In addition to his solo work, Stevens also offered his contribution to the album 1942 for Soul-Junk, on which he participated amply as a multi-instrumental musician. While preparing a new collection of songs, Stevens appeared on several benefit compilation discs, including Seen/Unseen, which featured Frank Black, Giant Sand, and 16 Horsepower. 2003 saw the release of Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lakes State, a 15-track conceptual piece produced and performed by Stevens — he played over 20 instruments — that placed his home state under the writer’s microscope. Despite the record’s narrowed focus, it was among the best reviewed that year and made many critics’ year-end lists. In 2004, Stevens released his follow-up, Seven Swans, which was produced by Danielson Famile mastermind Daniel Smith. He returned to his ambitious “states” project in 2005 with Illinois, which was followed by The Avalanche in 2006. ~ Mario Mesquita Borges, All Music Guide  – From

 Sufjan w Danielson, Sufjan on keys?
Best Concert #4
Sufjan Stevens
April 1, 2005

Back in 1998, we launched an online CD retailer called, and one of the first CDs we added to the site was by a band called Marzuki, fronted by Shannon Stephens with a multi-instrumentalist named Sufjan Stevens. It featured accordion, banjo, flutes and sounded like nothing else I’d heard. When the musicians went their separate ways, Shannon released a self-titled album with a brilliant song about domestic abuse called “Catch the Morning Line,” and Sufjan recorded a solo album called A Sun Came with moments of great promise and moments of silliness, like the line from Super Sexy Woman: “She’ll shoot a super fart/The deadly silent kind.” sufjan 

 At the time, I’d have put my money on Shannon. But then came Michigan. And Seven Swans. And then my favorite album of the last decade, Illinois. I had just heard the latter for the first time a few weeks before heading up to Grand Rapids, Mich., for The Faith and Music festival, where I’d been asked to speak. The conference featured Sufjan Stevens, Daniel Smith from The Danielson Family, Over the Rhine, Dave Bazan from Pedro the Lion, Denison Witmer, David Eugene Edwards from Sixteen Horsepower, and Don Peris from the Innocence Mission, all tackling issues of faith with more nuance and understanding than Nasvhille’s whole Christian music scene. I’d seen Sufjan with his boyscout band crammed on a tiny stage after Michigan, but here he was with a band that was more like an orchestra. The swans had been shed for butterflies. Blow-up Supermans were tossed around the room. He played “Chicago” and “Casmir Pulaski Day” and “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” while the projector showed home movies and the audience sat with rapt attention. There was a distinct feeling that we were launching something akin to Rites of Spring (albeit without the rioting). Sufjan proceeded to take over the country, playing vaunted venues like The Lincoln Center in New York and The Kennedy Center in D.C. But that night, he was still in Michigan, making a joyful ruckus.

~ by castleqwayr on June 19, 2009.

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