Sufjan Stevens, Asthmatic Kitty, and Soundsfamilyre announce Sufjan’s third full-length album, a collection of songs for his birth-state, Michigan, “The Great Lake State.”
Composed as a geographical tone poem, Michigan follows a metaphysical expedition through the idiosyncrasies of middle America. Drawing from personal anecdote, regional history, and state heritage, Stevens mixes social and political grievances with songs about snowmobiles, Henry Ford, the Detroit race riots, and love.
The songs on Michigan resonate with a range of sources-Vince Guaraldi, Terry Riley, and Nick Drake as accompanied by Stereolab and The Sea & Cake-in executing Stevens’ peculiar palette that is simultaneously rock and blue-grass, jazz and pop, a style The Village Voice appraises as “Arthur Lee meets the Book of Psalms.”
In Michigan, Stevens combines intimate, soft-spoken songwriting with the dense compositional complexity displayed on his previous release Enjoy Your Rabbit, which XLR8R called “…a transgressive, majestic album conjuring an academic jam session of Stereolab and Luke Vibert conducted by Steve Reich.”
Guest artists include Elin, Megan, and Daniel Smith (of The Danielson Famile), and John Ringhofer (Half-handed Cloud). Album art features original hand-paintings by Martha Stewart crafts editor Laura Normandin.
Michigan is the inaugural entry of THE 50 STATES, a cumulative recording project by Sufjan Stevens unparalleled in its panoramic enterprise: a record for each state! You think he’s kidding, don’t you?