I caught Justin Vernon stealing from himself

While listening to Justin Vernon’s 2006, pre-Bon Iver EP Hazeltons (released under the name Justin Vernon), it occurred to me how much the guitar line that winds through sorta-title-track “Hazelton” sounds like the one that anchors “Holocene”, a highlight (let’s face it, they’re all highlights) from this year’s dazzling Bon Iver, Bon Iver. Thought you could could just slip that one by us, eh Justin?

Really though, everything else in the two songs is completely different, and it’s actually a great illustration of how Vernon’s songwriting voice, and actual voice, have evolved over the past 5 years. “Hazelton” is a great, overlooked song, a bare-bones, “Skinny Love”-style acoustic howler. Vernon hasn’t yet embraced the falsetto he would begin to utilize on For Emma, Forever Ago. And “Holocene” is an intricately produced, delicately unfolding piece of orchestral folk genius — in other words, your standard Bon Iver, Bon Iver track. Check them both out below, and just for fun, stream his gorgeous solo piano version of “Beth/Rest” from NPR’s “World Cafe” as well.

Justin Vernon – “Hazelton”

[audio https://theashtraysays.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/01-hazelton.mp3]

Bon Iver – “Holocene”

[audio https://theashtraysays.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/03-holocene.mp3]

Bon Iver – “Beth/Rest (solo piano version)”

[audio https://theashtraysays.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/bon-iver-beth-rest-solo-piano-version.mp3]

~ by toren on September 21, 2011.

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