Published Mar 23, 2011Having won over the indie music world with his striking debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver hit the mainstream in 2010 with his high-profile collaborations with Kanye West. Now, songwriter Justin Vernon is looking to capitalize on this exposure, prepping his sophomore LP for a June release.
Speaking with Rolling Stone, Vernon said that the collection would be a step away from the stripped-down folk sounds that won him so many followers in the past. Rather than perform as a solitary troubadour, he relied on numerous collaborators to help shape the new album.
"I brought in a lot of people to change my voice -- not my singing voice, but my role as the author of this band, this project," he said, explaining that he recruited pedal steel player Greg Leisz and Montreal-based saxophonist Colin Stetson. "I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene."
Each of the ten tracks was inspired by a place, with song titles including "Minnesota Wisconsin" and "Perth." The latter features a children's choir, and Vernon described it as "a Civil War-sounding heavy metal song" and "sort of chaotic, dense, jarring." There's also the horn-laden closer "Beth/Rest," which he said was "definitely the part where you pick up your joint and re-light it."
His new collage-like approach was inspired by a recent creative crisis. "Somewhere along the line, I forgot how to write songs," he admitted. "I couldn't do it anymore with a guitar. It wasn't happening."
He continued, "I always had a dream to be that sort of student of Neil Young, one of those people who can sit down and write a song and have it be this full statement and sound good. I just don't think I'm as good at it as those people, frankly, and over the last few years, I've adapted."
The album is still untitled, but with its projected release just three months away, we can expect more details to emerge soon.