Bon Iver © KLRU by Scott Newton

Bon Iver



Bon Iver Season 38 by Ken Taylor


photo by Leslie Nichols

Grammy Award winner Bon Iver’s ability to stir emotions with their orchestral, lushly-arranged folk songs “achieves a beautiful fantasy” (Entertainment Weekly).

Bon Iver is the moniker of Wisconsin native Justin Vernon, a name he derived from a French phrase meaning “good winter” after watching an episode of Northern Exposure. After the breakup of his band DeYarmond Edison, he began writing songs during a secluded stay in his father’s Northern Wisconsin cabin. Vernon crafted his collection of bold, heartfelt musings layered with pastoral melodies and a hauntingly smooth falsetto into Bon Iver’s 2008 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago. The album was deemed “irresistible” by the New York Times. Rolling Stone included For Emma on its list of the “100 Best Albums of the ’00s” and called it “one of the all-time great breakup albums, not to mention one of the era’s surprise success stories.”

Last year Bon Iver released the much-anticipated follow-up. The self-titled album takes a new musical direction, relying on guest musicians like bass saxophonist Colin Stetson and pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz for a unique sound. Vernon stated, “I brought in a lot of people to change my voice – not my singing voice, but my role as the author of this band, this project.”

The album received overwhelming praise from fans and critics alike, earning Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album and Best New Artist. Paste writes: “It retains the beautiful melancholy of For Emma, but in nearly every way, it’s just more. More layered, more diverse, more interesting.” The Guardian notes that Bon Iver “remains rooted in the emotional sincerity that made Vernon’s debut so mesmerizing.”




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