Chill Out

Amazing what three months alone in a northern Wisconsin cabin will do for a fella, especially if he’s bedridden with mono and has nothing but a complete collection of Northern Exposure for company. Or at least that’s the tall tale behind Bon Iver’s debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago, a wistful, wondrous bit of warm loneliness released to much, much fanfare last year, first completely independently and then by both Jagjaguwar (in the States) and 4AD (in the UK).

The band name is a bastardization of the French bon hiver ("good winter") and comes from the TV series itself. And the bastard behind the name is one Justin Vernon, an Eau Claire native who wrote, played, and sang every track on the album, including the inexplicably strident “Skinny Love,” which, like the rest of the record, has so many overdubbed voices that when Vernon played live, he had to pass out lyric sheets and ask the audience to fill in.

Now that Bon Iver is a certified success, those lyric sheets might be long gone, but it’s a bet the audience’s desire to sing along to his songs has only grown stronger.
Tue., June 9, 7:30 p.m., 2009

 
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