Bon Iver’s tour comes to Vail on Monday
Bon Iver hits the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Monday Sept. 2 for a Labor Day show that will likely see hits from his newest album, “i,i,” along with old favorites from his 2008 breakout record, “For Emma, Forever Ago.” He will be joined by opener Sharon Van Etten, an indie folk/rock darling in her own right.
Bon Iver is the stage name of Justin Vernon. Following two messy breakups — his band and his girlfriend at the time — Vernon headed deep into the Wisconsin woods. He holed up in his father’s cabin, lived as a hermit, and spent his days chopping wood, hunting deer and writing the nine tracks that would eventually compose “For Emma, Forever Ago.”
Radio stations picked up “Skinny Love” from that album after it appeared in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” — that’s also how Mumford & Sons became famous with songs from “Sigh No More” — and the song blew up. Today, it has more than 321 million plays on Spotify.
Vernon followed up on “For Emma, Forever Ago” with his self-titled record in 2011, which produced a similar brand of subdued, guitar-driven folk over Vernon’s signature tenor. Some of the top songs from that album were “Perth,” “Holocene” and “Towers.”
The next record didn’t come until 2016’s “22, A Million,” which was divisive among Vernon’s fanbase because it marked his first departure from the style that made him famous. The first single, “33 “GOD”” featured synthesizer and heavy distortion on Vernon’s voice.
“i,i” features a similar sound to “22, A Million,” though it’s slightly more evolved simply because it’s not Vernon’s first time around the block with his new sound. He dropped the album on Aug. 9 to fans’ surprise: it was originally planned for release on Aug. 30. Key features on the album include collaborations with other musicians, including Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, James Blake, Moses Sumney and even Wheezy (known for his work with Young Thug) appear on the album credits.
In the past, Vernon collaborated with Kanye West on 2010’s “My Dark Twisted Fantasy,” 2013’s “Yeezus” and 2014’s “The Life of Pablo,” but after West’s political outbursts following the 2016 election, Vernon told Pitchfork, “I can’t really kick it with him anymore on a personal level … but I’ve got mad love for him, and we’re still friends.”