Carrie & Lowell Live
Asthmatic Kitty Records is pleased to announce Carrie & Lowell Live, an audio and visual document of Sufjan’s November 9, 2015 performance at North Charleston Performing Arts Center in South Carolina. It is available on YouTube and Vimeo and as an audio download (and streaming) on most digital platforms starting April 28, 2017.
Released in March 2015, Carrie & Lowell is perhaps Sufjan’s bleakest album, tracing the songwriter’s struggle with grief and depression following the sudden death of his mother. To promote the album, Sufjan set out on an extensive worldwide tour, playing almost 100 concerts performing almost exclusively songs from the new record.
The show, which was designed by Marc Janowitz, incorporated an expansive lighting display and cathedral-like LED columns featuring home videos shot by Sufjan’s maternal grandfather, Nick Marabeas. Much of this vintage footage highlights family birthdays, graduations, and weddings of Carrie and her siblings from the late 1940s through the early 1970s, lending the performances the emotional arc of a memorial, celebrating Carrie’s life and meditating on her death with a sweeping transcendence that gave testament to Sufjan’s central thesis of mourning: that in spite of death, we must go on living in fullness and joy.
Stevens says: “I found that performing these songs live allowed me to work through my suffering by giving it away. In sharing this music with the audience, I could surrender it to them as a gift, that they might be able to go home and contemplate death with an open heart. It was important for me to create an experience of sadness and exuberance, and to remind people to live everyday as if it were their last.”
The live show featured many new interpretations, re-workings and expansions of the songs from Carrie & Lowell, itself a spare album. On stage, acoustic guitars, ukuleles, and piano were augmented by drums and percussion, electronics, and a motley of synthesizers to create an expansive sonic environment that moved from intimate to psychedelic without sacrificing the solemn nature of the material. “The performances sought to meditate on death while making room for elevation and transcendence,” Sufjan says. This was evident in the addition of electronics, drums, synth solos, and colorful improvisations throughout the set, which offered a kind of auditory catharsis.
Carrie & Lowell Live captures Sufjan at his most vulnerable and persuasive, and it features a proficient, multiple-instrumentalist crew of musicians, including Dawn Landes (vocals, guitar, guitalin, piano, synthesizer, vocoder, percussion), Casey Foubert (vocals, guitar, lap steel, bass, piano, ukulele, synthesizer), Steve Moore (vocals, synthesizer, bass synth, trombone, Casiotone, piano) and James McAlister (drums, percussion, electronics, synthesizer, piano). The live show ends with an expansive 12-minute improvisational jam that looks (and feels) like nothing less than a born-again experience.
We hope you enjoy it. We are all going to die.
Carrie & Lowell Live was shot and produced by We Are Films, edited by Keith Bradshaw and Deborah Johnson, and mixed by Casey Foubert.
The North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Charleston, South Carolina
November 9, 2015Performed by:
Performing “Hotline Bling”
“Hotline Bling” by Aubrey Graham, Timmy Thomas, Paul Jeffries. Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.
We Are Films
Aaron Craig & Alex Craig – Director of Photography
Camera operators – Keith Bradshaw etc.
Produced by Sufjan Stevens
Co-Produced by Lisa Moran, Aaron Craig, and Alex Craig
Set, Stage, and Lighting Designer – Marc Janowitz
Lighting & Video Designer – Jason Rothberg
Video Designer – Josh Higgason
Sound Engineer – Brenndan McGuire
Monitor Engineer – Stu Tenold
Instrument Technician – Mikey Loy
Video Technician – Dan Gentile
Merchandise Manager – Max Goldblatt
Booking Agent – Ali Hedrick / Billions Corporation
Business Manager – Mark Kaplan / Mejia & Kaplan, LLP
Tour Manager – Michael Schoenbeck
Artist Manager – Lisa Moran / The Art Counsel