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Recorded in AIR Studio’s Lyndurst Hall – a building that was originally a church and missionary school designed in 1880 by the great Victorian architect Alfred Waterhouse (designer of the Natural History Museum) – Vernon was joined only by Sean Carey, with the pair positioning themselves opposite one another at two grand pianos. Although neither Justin nor Sean’s first instrument is piano, they were able to remodel the songs in a way that showcases their complimentary vocals and, perhaps more strikingly, a seemingly effortless ability to experiment with form and structure.

As such, fans are treated to jaw-dropping interpretations of several songs from both the new album and the Blood Bank EP, as well as a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’. And interpretation is an apt word, as these songs are artfully abstracted from their original incarnations. Rather than layer the sound as on Bon Iver, Bon Iver, the focus is on paring back, in part evoking the minimalist approach of contemporary classical music, while remaining true enough to the source material to retain those elements characteristic of Bon Iver.

As on ‘Babys’ and ‘Hinnom, TX’, Justin’s trademark falsetto is positioned centre stage, framed by subtle and unexpected instrumental flourishes that render the performance simultaneously weighty and airless. It’s quite an achievement that songs so widely-known and loved in their recorded form are able gain in emotional impact, and stands as testament to Bon Iver’s singular talent.

Bon Iver 4AD Sessions

  1. Hinnom, TX
  2. Wash.
  3. I Can’t Make You Love Me
  4. Babys
  5. Beth/Rest
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Best Cover Songs of 2011

December 18, 2011

Seems like cover songs are all the rage and I’m sure it’s due to ease of home-recording through such sites as SoundCloud and Bandcamp. What a great way to get a feel for what a musician’s audience thinks of songs they are working on or just sharing with their fans.

I decided to make a list of the one’s I liked the most but I didn’t put them in any particular order. That’s just too difficult. It’s not a top 10 list, it’s just my favorites so If you have a favorite that you’d like to share, post it in comments.

Trent Reznor and Karen O, Led Zepplin, ‘Immigrant Song’
Good lord, how did they pull this one off?? It’s awesome and updated really well. It won’t ever replace the original but I love it and love how perfectly Ms. O’s vocals work with the song.

Robin Pecknold and Alela Diane cover Nico’s ‘These Days’
The lead singer of Fleet Foxes, has often expressed his love for the 70’s legend and Warhol prootege for her music. It’s nice to hear his take on this classic Nico song.

Bon Iver-Bonnie Raitt ‘ I can’t make you love me/love in the nick of time’
Not only does Justin Vernon produce Grammy nominated albums but he can honor a classic song with skill and beauty. Justin, also known as Bon Iver, does a beautiful mix rendition of two Bonnie Raitt classics.
make you love me_nick
Vernon has covered many songs including a few he recorded in 2008. Here are some stand out covers:
Bon Iver – Why (Annie Lennox Cover)
Bon Iver – The Park (Feist Cover)

John Legend-Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’
I found this amazing a capella version of John Legend singing Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and it just floored me. You must have an amazing voice to be able to pull off an Adele cover and John stood up to the challenge. Beautiful.
01 Rolling in the Deep (Adele Cover) (1)

Lissie- Metallica ‘Nothing Else Matters’
Only Lissie could pull off a cover of a metal song and make it work. She may have just breathed new life into this Metallica classic. Lissie just came out with an album of covers, “Covered Up With Flowers” so be sure to check it out. They’re all amazing.

Jessie Baylin Thin Lizzy ‘A Song for While I’m Away’
Sticking with the theme of “rock cover songs you didn’t expect from gorgeous female singer/songwriter’s”, Jessie Baylin gives Thin Lizzy’s,’A Song for While I’m Away’ a new twist. Check out her  EP of covers, “Pleasure Center”.

St. Vincent Big Black ‘Kerosene’ 
and to end the trifecta of our ladies with gentle souls rocking out, here’s St. Vincent blowing our minds with this intense cover of Big Black’s ‘Kerosene’…who knew? It’s loud, it’s obnoxious but it’s amazing.  This woman can do anything.

Birdy- Bon Iver’s ‘Skinny Love’
If you haven’t heard of birdy yet, you will. She’s a 16 year old British girl who won Open Mic UK competition when she was just 12 years old. She just released her debut album “Birdy” November 7th.

James Vincent McMorrow Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ 
Love this slowed down version of this Winwood classic. If you haven’t heard this guys own stuff you must! He’s an amazing musician.

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