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Justin Vernon Is Right About “Beth/Rest” Being His Bruce Hornsby Song

bruce hornsby justin vernon
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 19: Recording Artists Bruce Hornsby along with Ricky's band Kentucky Thunder perform during Ricky Skaggs Day 2 - Bluegrass Rules at the CMA Theater on November 19, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. Skaggs was recently announced as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's 2013 Artist-in-Residence. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Bruce Hornsby is currently on the road and making some rounds in the press in promotion of his recent album Absolute Zero. He sat down with Stereogum to talk about the variety of collaborations he’s been involved with over a storied career. One of those notable collaborators is Justin Vernon, who recently appeared on Hornsby’s new song “Cast-Off.” Before that Hornsby was just a fan, and he talks glowingly about discovering Vernon via a Google Alert and loving the Bon Iver song “Holocene.”

More importantly, though, Hornsby relayed that Vernon considers the Bon Iver song “Beth/Rest” to be one of his “Bruce Hornsby songs,” to which we say: Justin Vernon, you are correct. Said Hornsby:

“He considers his song ‘Beth/Rest’ to be one of his Bruce Hornsby songs, quote-unquote. He reinvented that using the groove from my old 1990 song ‘Barren Ground.’ I loved what he did with it, and we played that. The next day I sat in with different groups, and just had a beautiful time.”


Elsewhere in the interview, Bruce talked of influencing the Killers and being sampled on rap records, as well as working with Spike Lee and Robin Williams. The interview is long but well worth a read. After finishing that, revisit Spin‘s guide to the oddball soft-rock king to get fully into his essential work.