Asthmatic Kitty Records announced yesterday that folk singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens will be on the road this fall, visiting historically iconic theaters across the country that he personally selected to visit along the way. This tour will mark the folk-pop king’s first proper big-venue North America tour in a long time, after opting to showcase his works-in-progress in intimate settings in 2009.
Stevens’ third studio album, Michigan (2003), was the beginning of what was thought to be a “Fifty States” project- documenting his explorations of the US through studio albums, with one dedicated to each state. A hefty challenge to take on, Stevens has since expressed that it was just a gimmick, but continued to follow up the album with Illinois (2005). With songs about the people, places and historical events he came across upon visiting, the album proved to be his most successful record yet, critically acclaimed and featuring the well-known track “Chicago”.
Sufjan Stevens latest studio album was released in 2009, The BQE, self-described as a “cinematic and symphonic exploration of New York City’s infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway”. The BQE was accompanied by an original film directed by Stevens, using the album as a soundtrack. The release was followed by a 3-night, sold-out live performance at the BAM Opera House with three dozen orchestral musicians, and even hula-hoopers, backing him.
It’s now been just about five years since Stevens took orchestral indie pop to new, epic heights on Illinois. Since then, Sufjan Stevens has worked on plenty of different projects but still hasn’t released a proper follow-up. The National’s Bryce Dessner, a friend of Sufjan, has slipped that Stevens is currently at work on that elusive new album, adding, “It’s going to be incredible. It’s going to probably blow people’s minds.” Since Dessner revealed this in June there has been no word on a release, but perhaps we can expect an announcement to accompany the fall tour. With his live performances widely acclaimed, the tour is destined to sell out quickly due to the originality of his work. Sufjan Stevens will visit New England with a performance at Boson’s Orpheum Theater on the last leg of his tour on November 11th.