Brinkley, Ark., Embraces 'The Lord God Bird'

Cutout of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker outside Penny's Hair Care.

hide captionA local artist's wooden cutout of the ivory-billed woodpecker graces a sign outside Penny's Hair Care in Brinkley.

Near Bayou DeView, where the ivory-billed woodpecker has been spotted. i i

hide captionNear Bayou DeView, where the ivory-billed woodpecker has been spotted.

Near Bayou DeView, where the ivory-billed woodpecker has been spotted.

Near Bayou DeView, where the ivory-billed woodpecker has been spotted.

Sufjan Stevens

hide captionSufjan Stevens hopes to release a record on every state in the Union. His latest is on Illinois.

Singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has a lofty goal: exploring each of the 50 states in song. He's already released a critically acclaimed full-length CD simply called Michigan. His latest honors the people, places and history of Illinois.

Independent radio producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister were curious about how Stevens writes his songs, which, much like their own work, are filled with stories of places and people. So, they introduced Stevens to the Arkansas town of Brinkley.

Brinkley is a small farming town not far from where the ivory-billed woodpecker recently was rediscovered. News that the bird is not extinct has brought a ray of hope to the residents of Brinkley.

Producers Collison and Meister spoke with people in the town, then shared the interviews with Stevens. He wrote a song about the ivory-bill, known as the "lord god" or "great god" bird because of its breathtaking appearance. Together, they offer a portrait of Brinkley in word and song.

Note: "The Lord God Bird" is only available on NPR.org and does not yet appear on any album.

Purchase Featured Music

Illinois

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Illinois
  • Artist: Sufjan Stevens
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty
  • Released: 2005
 

Greetings from Michigan

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Greetings from Michigan
  • Artist: Sufjan Stevens
  • Label: Sounds Familyre
  • Released: 2003
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.