Fresh off his prominent guest stint with one of pop music's biggest hitmakers, Eau Claire's indie-rocker-to-the-stars Justin Vernon now has one of rock’s all-time biggest names guesting on a new Bon Iver single, which he’s using to call attention to Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement and other charities.
Bruce Springsteen is credited alongside Vernon’s longtime cohorts Jenny Lewis, Elsa Jensen and Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) as backup vocalists on “AUATC,” an acronym for “Ate Up All the Cake.”.
Unlike Vernon’s vocals on Taylor Swift’s new album “Folklore,” the Boss isn’t exactly up front and center in the short, 2½-minute, gospel-flavored experimental track. A press release for the song from Bon Iver’s publicist just nodded to Springsteen as “and more.” But his participating nonetheless adds mojo to the song’s anti-greed lyricism and the good causes being touting with its release.
A new nonprofit launched to help the homeless populations in Powderhorn Park and other areas badly damaged after the George Floyd tragedy, Minneapolis Sanctuary Movement is listed among several other organizations that Vernon urged fans to “explore, take action and support” in the spirit of the song. The other causes listed are the National Independent Venues Association (NIVA, the national lobbying organization headed by Dayna Frank of First Avenue), 350.org, the Equal Justice Initiative and Eau Claire-based Red Letter Grant.
In a lengthy statement posted with the song Wednesday, Vernon wrote:
“We must continue the fight to topple capitalism as we know it, and recognize our collective participation in its dominant institutions. Bon Iver acknowledges our own position within and use of capitalistic practices. It is with recognition of our privilege that we are fully committed to using our unique platform to challenge and change capitalism within our industry, and far beyond.”
A music video was also offered up with the single, created by Aaron Anderson and Eric Timothy Carlson with choreography by TU Dance alumnus Randall Riley. More Twin Cities connections: The track was co-produced by Minneapolis-based studio wiz BJ Burton and features Minnesota musicians Barbara Jean Meyers and JT Bates, the latter of whom also drums on three tracks on Swift’s new album.