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For Emma, Forever Ago

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Editors’ Notes

Partially recorded at a cabin in the Wisconsin woods, there’s a tangible sense of wintry isolation in songwriter Justin Vernon’s gorgeous debut as Iver. The rawness of For Emma, Forever Ago—often stitched together with little more than Vernon's layered falsetto, low- acoustic guitars and creaking ambience—gives it a chilling, love-at-first-listen power. And while tracks like “Skinny Love” and the “For Emma” are standalone highlights in their own right, the album’s seamless tour of heartache is greater than the sum of its parts.


Formed: 2007 in Eau Claire, WI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Justin Vernon began recording under the nom de band Bon Iver following the breakup of DeYarmond Edison, an indie folk group similar in tone and manner to Iron & Wine, Little Wings, and — to a certain extent — Bonnie "Prince" Billy. Vernon's solo project took DeYarmond Edison's introspective, folky sound and embellished it with squinchy, quirky orchestral touches that nodded to Sparklehorse and the drifty optimism of the Flaming Lips. Vernon moved back to Wisconsin the winter following...
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