Sufjan Stevens has released the first song from his forthcoming album Carrie & Lowell. The track, No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross, is the return of the folkified, whispering Stevens that we’d been promised. This is largely the Sufjan Stevens you might recall from earlier works such as Sevens Swans, and the gently heartbreaking acoustic balladry of songs like Casimir Pulaski Day (Illinois).

In a sense, No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross marks a departure for Stevens, in that he hasn’t been this one of his many musical selves for a while; for those of us who first fell in love with his music through Michigan and Illinois it’s a welcome return for his understated folk. Who knows what the rest of Carrie & Lowell will bring, but judging by this first taste, it won’t be bringing disappointment.

Sufjan Stevens will be touring the US from April, with a little trip over to the UK in September, when he will be performing at the End of the Road festival.

Check out the tour dates here:

Carrie & Lowell is out on March 30th, on Asthmatic Kitty Records. You can preorder the album in digital and physical formats from here: