In the summer of 2003, I got a lengthy letter from a guy asking if we would please play his music on a show we used to do called Open Mic. It was a showcase for great unknowns. (Don't bother looking for it, it doesn't exist anymore.) The guy's name was Sufjan Stevens and he'd just put out a record called Michigan. It had arrived unceremoniously with all the other albums we'd get from unknown or unsigned artists, and I threw it in a stack to listen to on my commute. I remember driving home with Bob one night, putting on the song "Romulus" and telling Bob, "You know, this guy is pretty good!"
I just bought tickets to see him at an awesome venue in Durham on May 7th! mk, come visit, I bought a ticket for you and gq too :)