In the three years since Bon Iver released its critically beloved 2007 debut For Emma, Forever Ago, frontman Justin Vernon earned thousands of new fans – including Kanye West, who invited the sensitive singer-songwriter to appear on six songs of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
But when Vernon sat down to work on Bon Iver’s follow-up album, he discovered a problem. “Somewhere along the line, I forgot how to write songs,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I couldn’t do it anymore with a guitar. It wasn’t happening.”
So Vernon – who wrote For Emma while holed up by himself in rural Wisconsin – changed gears, working with studio musicians, trying to build sounds rather than songs. “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,” says Vernon, who hired well-known players like sax man Colin Stetson, who plays with Tom Waits and Arcade Fire, and pedal-steel guitarist Greg Leisz, who recorded with Bill Frissell and Linda Rondstadt. “I built the record myself, but I allowed those people to come in and change the scene.” The album, which is still untitled, is scheduled to come out sometime in June.
If you don't have Bon Iver's two albums, For Emma, Forever Ago (only $6.99) & Blood Bank EP, it's time to catch up and get ready for June. Also check out his stuff with Volcano Choir and Gayngs (though neither compare to the greatness of Bon Iver. Now, when does Beirut's new album come out?