4AD and Jagjaguar have teamed up to bring us a unique acoustic session of songs from Bon Iver. The recording features Justin Vernon and his Bon Iver band-member Sean Carey on piano and vocals. These stripped down versions are a fun alternative to his usual multi-layered orchestral performances. The session includes several songs from last year’s self-titled sophomore release, “Hinnom, TX”, “Wash.”, and “Beth/Rest”, one from his Blood Bank EP, “Babys”, and a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s classic heart-breaker “I Can’t Make You Love Me”. What’s amazing about this performance is how full a sound these two still manage to create in a “stripped down” session. I really enjoyed hearing Sean Carey, step out of his usual backing role and take the lead on a few tracks. I think that their version of “Beth/Rest” that closes the session was the highlight for me. I loved this song from the get-go, but I fully understand why many people were turned off by it’s cheesy 80’s feel. The album version sounds like it should be included in the closing credits of John Hughes film, but that is part of why I love it. But I don’t know how anyone could not love this version of the song, captured here at in it’s purest form, just Vernon’s voice and a piano.
Recorded in AIR Studio‘s Lyndurst Hall back in October, this is quite the treat.