Last year news emerged that an interesting project was afoot, organised by the blog On Joyful Wings. The idea was a song-for-song cover of Sufjan Stevens’ 2004 album, Seven Swans.
Artists on board for the tribute album include Half-Handed Cloud, the Gregory Brothers, Inlets, Carl Hauck and he who often seems to be Sufjan’s musical twin and fellow Asthmatic Kitty artist, DM Stith. Another is Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy who covered Seven Swans‘ first song All The Trees Of The Field Will Clap Their Hands. Fortunately, that song can be heard streaming at TwentyFourBit.
The song was recorded with Daniel Smith of New Jersey rockers Danielson, with help from Meg Baird of Espers and long-time Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy collaborator Emmett Kelly of the Cairo Gang.
The Bandcamp page for the song features the following words from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, aka Will Oldham:
“I can’t for the life of me remember how or where I came upon Seven Swans. It was in my possession by the early aughts, and on tour each night I’d smoke a bowl deep and lay in my sleeping bag and listen to Transfiguration. I’ve never listened to another of Stevens’ records. I’m not sure about the source of the faith expressed in the lyrics of the record. In the end it doesn’t matter; it’s just music. Trees Clap is a quiet introduction. I could not try Transfiguration as I find the rendition on Seven Swans to be flawless. It was very special to work with Daniel Smith on the recording of our rendition of All The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands.”