At this point in his career, Justin Vernon can essentially play whatever music he wants. Not only has he gained that success, but have you seen him live? Dude can actually play every instrument on stage and he might be barefoot while doing it. Vernon serves as the frontman of new trio The Shouting Matches along with Brian Moen and Peter Cook, and the set serves as another chapter in what is sure to be a diverse career of the man known to many as Bon Iver. Grown Ass Man was an out of left field surprise release (to me at least) that excels in bluesy, Southern rock.
Vocoder and sweeping orchestral rhythms of Bon Iver’s latest album are welcomely traded in for bruising guitar solos, harmonica (“Three Dollar Bill”) and vocal distortion (“Heaven Knows”). Tracks like “Avery Hill” and “Gallup, NM” continue JV’s penchant for sad narratives with geographical ties, while electronic organ hues the Clapton-esque stories and intermittent wail. Organ actually plays a huge role on the album as a Southern gospel influence on cuts like “New Theme” and “Mother, When?”. Speaking of gospel, “I’ll Be True” is an endearing love-filled ode complete with harmonised vocals and deep bass as Vernon offers up his commitment to the march of percussion. “Seven Sisters” is my current favorite with the catchiest hook of the entire album and guitar riffs that ride the wave that Vernon vocally floats.
I’ll Be True