Courtney Barnett and Vagabon have shared a cover of Sharon Van Etten’s “Don’t Do It,” as part of Epic Ten, the upcoming 10th-anniversary reissue of Van Etten’s album Epic.
“I was so honored that Sharon invited me to be part of this project,” Barnett said in a statement. “She is one of my favorite songwriters and such an inspiring artist, performer, and encouraging friend to me. This song ‘Don’t Do It’ is powerful and personal, I really didn’t know how to make it my own, in fact, I tried to pick a different song and convinced myself I wasn’t up to the task, but Sharon was quietly supportive the whole time. In the process of talking vulnerably about the lyrics with her, I had to delve deeper into what the song meant for me. It’s fascinating to hear an artist ruminate on a song that is 10 years old and see how it/they have evolved. I think it’s a beautiful thing to celebrate the journey of a song.”
Barnett says the cover was recorded in her native Melbourne just after the Covid-19 lockdown in the city was lifted. “Stella Mozgawa played drums and I played guitar and we built the song from there. A week later, I was talking to my friend Laetitia (Vagabon), we were saying how we should collaborate more. I nervously asked if she’d be interested in singing with me on this song and I’m so glad she said yes, her voice sounds incredible and really made the song feel complete. After nearly a year of solitude, I was so grateful for this opportunity to create something different with people that I greatly admire. And it seemed perfectly strange that the last time I was on a stage pre-Covid was with these three people.”
Laetitia Tamko, a.k.a. Vagabon, adds: “Courtney and I found that we have a beautiful collaborating chemistry when we made our cover of ‘Reason to Believe,’ which came out earlier this year. So when CB asked me to join her in singing ‘Don’t Do It’ by the inimitable Sharon Van Etten, I was thrilled! ‘Don’t Do It’ is one of my favorite tracks off Epic, and it was such a pleasure to do a version of it with Courtney.”
Epic Ten will be released to streaming on April 16th and physically on June 11th via Ba Da Bing. In addition to all of the original album tracks and Barnett and Vagabon’s “Don’t Do It” cover, the reissue will also feature “A Crime” by Big Red Machine, “Peace Signs” by Idles, “Save Yourself” by Lucinda Williams, “DsharpG” by Shamir, “One Day” by St. Panther, and “Love More” by Fiona Apple.
On April 16th and 17th, Van Etten will release a documentary on the making of the album, combined with a virtual concert where she’ll perform the LP in full with her band at Zebulon in Los Angeles. Proceeds will benefit the venue; tickets can be found here.