Who? Once a member of DeYarmond Edison, singer/songwriter Justin Vernon parted ways with the folk outfit when its other members relocated from its home base of Eau Claire, Wisconsin to North Carolina in 2005. After some work with the Rosebuds and Ticonderoga, Vernon retreated to his father's northern Wisconsin cabin and spent three winter months working solo on the songs that would eventually become For Emma, Forever Ago, the debut album for Bon Iver, his nom de band. Vernon self-released the album last fall and it sold-out on its first run; its reissue, with different artwork, drops Feb. 19 via Jagjaguwar.
What's the Deal? Vernon's multi-tracked falsetto is the element that jumps out right away since it's all over For Emma's nine songs, but don't make the mistake of throwing him in the freak-folk clubhouse with Devendra Banhart and the like. At their core, songs like "The Wolves (Act I and II)" and "Re: Stacks" are as straightforward and pretty as Sam Beam's Iron and Wine creations, if they were sung by TV on the Radio's soulful Tunde Adubimpe. Instrumentally, Vernon's guitar is his main partner in chime, with horns and clattery percussion making guest spots. Listening to these songs, it's easy to picture Vernon crouching on the cabin's roaring hearth, strumming and trying to ward off the chills from an environment where below zero is a way of life.
Fun Fact: The name Bon Iver is a bastardization of the French term for "good winter."
Now Hear This:
Bon Iver - "Skinny Love" DOWNLOAD MP3
On the Web:
Bon Iver at MySpace