artist | justin vernon
track name | beth/rest (world cafe / solo piano version)
a love letter, for justin vernon:
i remember the first time i laid ears on you. it was friday, november 30th, 2007, the day after thanksgiving. i was at home in colorado and a friend of mine sent me a link to the jagjaguwar website saying, you have to hear this. i remember hitting play and i remember being absolutely stunned; i had never heard anything like for emma, forever ago in my entire life. for the first three months after i was introduced to you, i faithfully listened daily to the select songs that were only available through the jagjaguwar website. and then, two weeks before the album dropped on february 19th, 2008, jagjaguwar pulled the songs off the website. it may have been the longest two weeks of my life.
since then, i’ve seen you live more times than i can count. i saw you open for elvis perkins in dearland and black mountain and i saw your first headlining show with bowerbirds as the opener - thank you for the bowerbirds. i saw you play a score to a charlie chaplin short film, i’ve watched you jam out with a bear hat on with gayngs and i traveled to my home state of colorado in may to see you play the best music venue in the entire united states, red rocks. i’ve sung the wolves (act i and ii) chorus of what might’ve been lost with you in brooklyn, manhattan, the bronx and colorado. i even met you one night at the bowery ballroom - it was the second time i’d seen you live. your exit off the stage is always so anticlimactic and when the headliner went on, we left the show and there you were, drinking at the bar downstairs. i came up to you and the most profound thing i could say was, “thank you for your music, it means so much to me.” man, what a square i am.
and now, almost five years later, with your momentous move from opening at bowery ballroom to headlining at radio city, and as your sound of bon iver grows further from what i fell in love with, i still find myself moved to tears when i see you live. i’ve seen you stun a crowd of 100 into silence and now i watch as you leave a crowd of thousands awestruck. it’s my hope that you’re able to not get lost in the fame and to retain a sense of humbleness.
in a world of music that’s so grossly overproduced, your music was raw, both in compilation and emotion, and it was the biggest gasp of fresh air i’d ever come across. it was simple and pure and it’s result impacted my life as a soundtrack does to a movie, because for emma was my soundtrack. now with that being said, my least favorite song that you’ve put out is beth/rest because it’s so overproduced; please, i beg you, drop the autotune. i hated it because it felt so far from why i adored you as a musician. that is until i heard your solo version and was reminded of why i fell madly in love with you to begin with. i realized that i miss the days of seeing just you on the stage alone with your guitar, but i’m grateful that you give me tastes of the past in your live shows with re:stacks, as you did wednesday night at radio city. you’re the most captivating when you’re on the stage by your lonesome - never forget that.
so keep on keeping on, mr. vernon. my heart will be forever yours.