(Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver)
Before there was Bon Iver, the new man/moniker that emerged from the northwoods of Wisconsin after months of seclusion, there was just Justin Vernon. Bon Iver (a reference to the French word bon hiver meaning "good winter") seemed to have produced a masterpiece, For Emma, Forever Ago, simply out of thin air in his father's cabin. Now with some insight into his earlier recordings, his previous album, Hazeltons (whole album available HERE), shows a lot of the promise that led to his brilliant "debut". "Hazelton" HERE, the title track off his previous album, believed to have only 100 copies in circulation, shows the foundation of everything that made For Emma, Forever Ago so incredibly moving - layered vocals, his captivating and incredibly emotive voice, the melancholy and simple guitar picking and his uncanny sense for melody (He has talked about how he started For Emma, Forever Ago with wordless melodies and then later found the words to fit within the melody). For those unfamiliar with Bon Iver, simply listen to "Skinny Love" (HERE with a few others off the album) once through and you will be hooked for good.
(Just outside my top 10 albums of the 00s)
Happy New Year!