WRMC Spotlight: Come on Feel the Illinoise!

Who: Sufjan Stevens, firstly. Secondly, John Wayne Gacy Jr., Carl Sandburg, Mary Todd Lincoln, Louis Armstrong and more people throughout the history of Illinois. And thirdly, me, trying to piece together playlists inspired by each song Sufjan has made and the history that influenced them.

What: A week-by-week aural exploration of the myths of the State of Illinois as they are written by Sufjan Stevens and the people who inspired him. Each week, I will be focusing on one song from the album “Illinoise” in chronological order and trying to make a playlist that is marginally related to the historical content or musical style of each song. Themes so far have ranged from outer space to colonialism and I hope for the playlists to get even more out there as I progress through the album.

When:  Mondays, 3-4 p.m.! My favorite thing about doing a radio show is when people participate by calling in to the station or chatting online at wrmc.middlebury.edu. Some of the best songs that I have played on the show have come from other people and I love it when people listen and help me out.

Where: The DJ booth above Proc. 91.1 FM. Highland, Illinois. Jacksonville. Decatur. Chicago. This is a show that is all about places in time and the reactions that they create. I am really trying to tap into the power that music has to bring you back to a specific moment and place. These songs are capable of evoking that so well and that is why I love this album.

Why: This was the first album that blew my mind. I remember sitting down doing homework in eighth grade and hearing one of the songs play on Pandora, I think it was “Chicago.” Straight after that I went and found the album. I listened to the whole thing straight through and would listen to it for days on end. I thought it was such a beautiful sentiment to try and create a song for a special place that could hold both historical and individual meaning. Plus, I always wished Sufjan had continued his 50 states project and gotten to Tennessee, where I’m from. So, even though this show is still about this one album, it reminds me of the songs that remind me of those places I would drive by every day and the stuff that happened there. It still amazes me that I can be walking across campus here in Vermont and hear a song that takes me back to a moment in a car with friends looking out the window at a specific landscape. I think that kind of music should be celebrated.

Want to be featured? Contact fmurphy@middlebury.edu

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WRMC Spotlight: Come on Feel the Illinoise!