At times in Sufjan Steven's career, the folksy singer-songwriter has overdosed on equal parts whimsy and ambition. Beginning with Michigan, from 2003, the musician announced his intent to write an album for every state, only to dismiss such talk as a "promotional gimmick" in the wake of Illinois, which surfaced in 2005. For the Age of Adz, Stevens passed up acoustic strumming for electronics, turning out sometimes ponderous, beat-heavy cuts inspired by the mind-bending work of outsider artist Royal Robertson.

The singer’s latest, the sparse, moving Carrie & Lowell, finds its inspiration much closer to home, with Stevens turning out a series of sad, heart-heavy songs rooted in the passing of his mother, who died in 2012. Throughout, Stevens confronts a number of questions, singing: “What did I do to deserve this?”; “How did this happen?” There are few answers to be found, but it’s impossible not to be moved as the musician delves headlong into issues of family, forgiveness, mortality and the memories we imprint on those who hold us dearest.

Cold Specks opens the show.

Phot Credit Sufjan Stevens