Sufjan Stevens is a masterful poet with a wonderful singing voice who also just so happens to be rife with pain. In his 2015 independent release Carrie & Lowell, he very starkly and very honestly examines his feelings after the death of his mother in 2012. His relationship with his mother was fraught with pain and separation and this record reflects that. Be prepared to be jarred, and be prepared to be unsettled. But isn’t that one of the reasons we care about music in the first place? Melodically and structurally I get a lot of Paul Simon circa 1966, back when Simon was brooding and unhappy before he turned clever and snide. The feel of the record reminds me somewhat of early Jim James and My Morning Jacket, if only in the ethereal yet stark way the music is presented.
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