Bon Iver, AKA Wisconsin folkie Justin Vernon, is a smooth, cool breath of fresh air in a world where most is suffocating. Originally self released in 2007 and then re-released by Jagjaguwar this year,
Vernon recorded the majority of his solo debut For Emma, Forever Ago in the confines of a remote cabin in Wisconsin, and it is evident in the songs. Vernon’s perfectly layered harmonies, emotion filled voice, and soft acoustic strumming take you to the same far off relaxing place where it was recorded. Most of the songs dwell on similar issues: love, longing for that love, and love related nostalgia. The power and emotion in Vernon’s voice is something rarely heard in folk. Vernon’s wordplay remains genuine, and where lyrics could be sappy and cliché, they are new and fresh. You can feel the words as they swirl through your headphones and into your ears. Normally, a guy with an acoustic guitar passionately singing about his sorrows would be written off by most as the still undefined and skewed term “emo” (a term I have personally grown to loath due to its vagueness), but because of the truth and power of Vernon’s voice it never comes across as such. His soft falsetto vocals express, with as much sincerity and conviction as possible, the anguish and difficulties that go hand in hand with love. “Skinny Love” is one of the first songs in a while I cannot stop listening to. Its good to hear something as pure and authentic as Bon Iver at I time when authenticity is becoming less and less cherished by the masses.