Welcome to Five For You, where every weekend we pick our five favourite songs on any given topic. This edition is dedicated to the musical genius that is Justin Vernon. Although best known for his work with Bon Iver, Justin’s musical output is far-from limited to Bon Iver records. So we’ve picked our five favourite Justin Vernon-featuring songs that don’t appear on Bon Iver releases.
Volcano Choir – Comrade
Back in 2005, Justin teamed up with fellow Wisconsinites, Collections of Colonies of Bees, to form Volcano Choir. The band have released two albums to date, with the most recent being 2013’s Repave, from which Comrade is taken. This barnstorming live rendition of Comrade is a great introduction to the band and their epic instrumentation.
DeYarmond Edison – Bones
Justin Vernon founded this Eau Claire-based band with friends when they were all teenagers, with Justin’s middle names providing the band it’s name. An indie-folk track, Bones is taken from the band’s solitary LP before they split up in 2006 and isn’t a million miles away from the sound of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver – I Can’t Make You Love Me
The members of Bon Iver are made up of a rotating cast of musicians, with some featuring more frequently than others. Sean Carey is one such frequent collaborator, with his extensive vocal range providing the perfect compliment to Justin’s own impressive voice. This duet between the two, covering Bonnie Ratt’s I Can’t Make You Love me whilst sat on opposite facing grand pianos, is the perfect example of how these two distinctive and unique voices combine with beautiful results.
Bon Iver – Heavenly Father (Acapella)
Heavenly Father appeared on the soundtrack of the 2014 film, Wish I Was Here, but was never made available to purchase or on streaming services. It has however, become a staple at Bon Iver’s live shows, with none more moving than this acapella version filmed at the Sydney Opera House last year. And yes, that is The Staves providing those gorgeous harmonies – spine-tingling stuff.
Francis & The Lights ft Justin Vernon – Friends
Let’s not beat around the bush, Friends was one of the best songs of 2016. But that’s not why it’s made it on to this list. It’s here because the synchronised dance moves Justin and Francis pull off in the video make us smile every time we watch.