Justin Vernon – “Heavenly Father” ft. Cantus Domus Choir
The studio version of Bon Iver’s “Heavenly Father” first appeared on the soundtrack to the 2014 Zach Braff film Wish I Was Here. Though it never appeared on an official studio album, the slow-burning ballad has become a low-key favorite for Justin Vernon fans—in part because of a soaring acapella version performed at the Sydney Opera House in 2016. Now, Vernon has released yet another beautiful live take of the song, this one backed by the Berlin-based choir Cantus Domus at that city’s famed Funkhaus concert hall earlier this week.
The release is surely intended on some level to promote the upcoming PEOPLE festival, organized by Vernon and the Dessner brothers of the National, which takes place at Funkhaus this weekend. (In addition to the organizers, the festival also features Feist, Jónsi and Alex Somers of Sigur Rós, Francis and the Lights, Beirut’s Zach Condon, Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, Angel Deradoorian, powerhouse drummer Greg Fox, and more.) This new version of “Heavenly Father” is a field recording of a rehearsal for the show. The arrangement is fairly similar to the Sydney performance, but it still sounds great—if you didn’t know better, you might think it was multitracked and mixed at a proper studio. Hear it at the PEOPLE website, and read more about the festival here.