Bon Iver

On “Calgary,” Justin Vernon’s vocals lay in a cloud of gloomy synths and anxious electric guitar tones, suggesting a sonic shift from the grainy For Emma formula. But not too much has changed — the ghostly falsetto remains Bon Iver’s calling card. JV’s voice has also been unmistakable on recent collaborations (GAYNGS, Volcano Choir, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and an asset when he takes on someone else’s song. So I’m especially looking forward to the “Calgary” 12″ b-side, a combined cover of two Bonnie Raitt classics, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” > “Nick Of Time.” (Bon Iver once deejayed the latter at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.) While we wait to hear that (it’s out 7/4), let’s take a listen back at all the tunes by other folks Justin’s successfully made his own.

For completist’s sake, runners-up are below. (Many were disqualified because of bad audio or Justin wasn’t singing lead.)

“Death Letter” (Son House Cover) [w/ The Shouting Matches]

“Every Grain Of Sand” (Bob Dylan Cover)

“Harvest Moon” (Neil Young Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]

“I Believe In You” (Talk Talk Cover)

“I Feel Like Going Home” (Yo La Tengo Cover)

“Jolene” (Dolly Parton Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]

“Love More” (Sharon Van Etten Cover) ***

“Lovin’s For Fools” (Sarah Siskind Cover)

“Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone” (John Prine Cover)

“Simple Man” (Graham Nash Cover)

“Since I Fell For You” (Buddy Johnson Cover) [w/ Memorial High School Jazz 1]

“Tampa To Tulsa” (The Jayhawks Cover)

“Why” (Annie Lennox Cover) [w/ St. Vincent]


GAYNGS – “By Your Side” (Sade Cover)

GAYNGS – “Cry” (Godley & Creme Cover)


DeYarmond Edison – “You’ve Got a Friend” (Carole King Cover)


“Write Me A Few Lines” & “Trials, Troubles, Tribulations” w/ Megafaun, Fight The Big Bull & Sharon Van Etten


***UPDATE 3… Thanks Josh for sending over this higher quality MusicNOW ’10 recording:


“With God On Our Side” (Bob Dylan)


Did I miss any? Shout out in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at

Bon Iver is out 6/21 on Jagjaguwar.

Comments (20)
  1. Love the covers of “Blue Tulip” and “The Park” much more than the originals. I think he could sing the nearly extinct phone book to me and I’d love it, though.

  2. Love the covers of “Blue Tulip” and “The Park” much more than the originals. I think he could sing the nearly extinct phone book to me and I’d love it, though.

  3. Crawling Back to You is one of my favorite Tom Petty songs. To hear Justin Vernon sing it is so incredible and haunting. He almost sounds like a touch of Neil Young.

  4. What about “Lovings For Fools?”

  5. There’s also Bon Iver’s cover of New Buffalo’s “Emotional Champ” but I can’t find that.

  6. none of the links work to download, just so you know

  7. Just so you know every one of your download links worked… Thanks

  8. “Come Talk To Me” is so beautifully done

    not sure if this counts, but still rather awesome

  10. If I’ve ever stumbled upon a more magnificent page at 4:08 AM CST, I don’t remember doing so. Which isn’t particularly surprising in and of itself (I don’t remember when I first heard Lady’s classic ‘Yankin’ for instance, but it was probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:08 AM CST)…but this is really phenomenal. Thanks, guys!

  11. I’ve been trying for a couple days–any recommendations if I can’t get the links to work? Are they just not Mac compatible?

  12. I’d love to hear a better recording of “Jolene”

  13. No “Such Great Heights”?

  14. Saw him at Hammersmith last sunday. The cover of Bjork’s ‘Who Is It’ was really something to behold. Kathleen Edwards’ closing her support set with the Lips’ Feeling Yourself Disintegrate was pretty nice to hear too.

  15. Seriously the highlight of my day to discover this! Must share with the world (or at least my music loving friends), because honestly, who does not need more Bon Iver in their lives?

  16. great list. however, I’m really shocked to see that this one was overlooked.

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