Thursday, January 20, 2011

"That was Wisconsin that was yesterday..."

Ah, winter in Wisconsin.  Snowy, cold, dark.  Sparkling, beautiful, crisp. In honor of the wintry weather (i.e. the current high temperature of 4°, yes, that’s in Fahrenheit) I want to share a favorite album of mine that personifies this time of year.

This 2007 release by Wisconsin artist Justin Vernon was critically acclaimed for a reason.  Recorded in a secluded cabin, the music carries all the eerie, delicate, rawness of Wisconsin in the winter.  In fact, his band’s name “Bon Iver” is a corruption of the French phrase bon hiver, meaning good winter. Tim Sendra, reviewer for says, “For Emma captures the sound of broken and quiet isolation, wraps it in a beautiful package, and delivers it to your door with a beating, bruised heart.” 

I've been lucky enough to get tickets to two of Bon Iver's shows, and the pleasure of attending one (ironically, winter weather caused me to miss the first). One of my favorite concerts to date and Bon Iver's last before their current hiatus, Vernon's artistry expanded in the live performance and even exceeded expectations. It was a real treat.

The haunting melodies of For Emma have been a continual favorite of mine since its release; in the middle of summer it can almost make you homesick for winter, almost.

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