for Justin Vernon. I can't remember exactly when it was I first listened to his band, Bon Iver, whenever it was I was immediately hooked. The name Bon Iver is Vernon's interpretation of the French word, bon hiver, meaning good winter. Something he picked up while watching reruns of Northern Exposure. Remember that show? Anyway, during the first snowfall of the winter locals would emerge from their homes and wish one another a 'bon hiver'. Whether it was a good winter or not, Vernon holed up in a cabin in Wisconsin in the middle of the winter and wrote his first solo album For Emma, Forever Ago.
There's something about his heartbreaking falsetto that is strangely beautiful to me. Because of this I couldn't help but wonder if there was a tragedy that spurred the album. I'm typically not interested in the hows, whens and wheres musicians create their albums. But this one in particular stood out. I later found Vernon and his former band, DeYarmond Edison, moved from Wisconsin to North Carolina. As the band settled in NC their creative interests split. After about a year and an album later the group dissolved and Vernon returned to Wisconsin. During that winter in his father's remote Wisconsin cabin, Bon Iver was born. What was intended to be a few snowy Wisconsin months of solace and recovery from both heartbreak and illness turned into For Emma, Forever Ago.
His semi new EP, Blood Bank, was released in late January of this year. It has a similar lo-fi, woodsy sound. And, this fan shot 80's cover from a live show might bring back a few memories.