Sufjan Stevens – The Lord God Bird


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

2005 found Sufjan Stevens releasing his 2nd state themed record, Illinois. Stylistically similar to 2003’s Michigan, it added a depth to the indie orchestral musical stylings. Amidst all the critical acclaim and recordings, Sufjan found time to visit independent radio producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister to reveal his writing process. Carrying on with his location-based songwriting, Stevens was introduced to the town of Brinkley, Arkansas. The ivory-billed woodpecker had recently been rediscovered after a period in which it was thought to be extinct. The bird is dubbed the lord god bird due to its stunning appearance – one of the largest woodpeckers in the world with distinctive coloring around the head. Sufjan released his song The Lord God Bird as a free download on the NPR website in July of 2005. The song is an exercise in beauty – conveying hope and spiritual longing in equal measures. Acoustic in nature, the song would have fit in perfectly with Sufjan’s mid 00’s records. It’s almost hard to believe that this song was given away for free – its one of my favorite Sufjan Stevens songs. It hooks you right from the opening line: “In the delta sun, down in Arkansas / It’s the great god bird with its altar call”. You can still find the free (and legal) download of the song here. You can also view a video that perfectly fits the song below. Enjoy.

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