While we haven gotten a Bon Iver album since 2019’s i,i, Justin Vernon has popped up on a number of projects in recent years, most notably with Big Red Machine and as a collaborator on Taylor Swift’s albums Folklore and Evermore. Today brings another new Vernon appearance: Sylvan Esso’s Psychic Hotline label dropped a new Bon Iver-featuring single from Ethan Gruska, “So Unimportant.”
Gruska — whose credits include both of Phoebe Bridgers’ solo albums, 2017’s Stranger In The Alps and 2020’s Punisher — and Vernon wrote the song long-distance during the pandemic, passing the track back and forth to each other digitally and gradually molding the tune into the slow-burning song it is today.
Vernon says of the track:
“My dear friend and great drummer, JT Bates, showed me the music of Ethan Gruska a number of years ago. It’s not often that something IMMEDIATELY grasps you where you stand like his music did. It only happens a few times in one’s life. Ethan’s musicality and touch has magic in it. We have not yet met in person, but have exchanged the longest, flirtiest texts in history. I hope to be near the mine of his mind for as long as possible. This song is just the first thing I threw at the wall. He scraped it off that wall, and turned it into a song I’ll appreciate forever.”
Gruska also shared a statement:
“Around March 10th of 2020 Justin was supposed to come to LA and we were going to spend a few days making some stuff. Obviously, that didn’t happen… We all went into lockdown shortly after. About two weeks into deep quarantine Justin and I connected and decided it would still be fun to send each other files and try something remotely. So Unimportant was the first thing that came to fruition. Justin and I passed this song and session leisurely back and forth for a while to get it where it is now.
The fact that I now have a song with Justin just completely blows my mind. He’s been my pie in the sky // I’d do anything to collaborate with artist for a really long time and having this song together is one of the most special things that has ever happened to me in my musical life. Life in general!
Justin is my favorite pen pal, person and artist, and I’m so grateful to have made this together!”
Listen to “So Unimportant” above.