Monday, February 13, 2012

Best New Artist: Bon Iver/Justin Vernon - "Calgary" & "Perth" (The Roots Pre-Grammy Jam #8)

Bon Iver head honcho, Justin Vernon has somehow managed to become quite the "enigma" in the world of Popular music over the past couple years: An independent, New Age Folk artist who's been able to bridge the gap between Indie Rock and Hip-Hop _ commercial obscurity and "mainstream success." On the heels of his feverishly-awaited 2011 "comeback" album - Bon Iver, Bon Iver, Vernon laid down some studio time in Hawaii with Kanye & Friends (Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, John Legend), which eventually ended up on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Following generally wide-spread fan and critical acclaim alike, Bon Iver, Bon Iver was nominated for a set of 4 Grammy awards near the close of 2011. Shortly after the announcement, a slightly dated and previously unpublished Justin Vernon interview (The New Yorker) was issued; Included within it's pages were a handful of not-so kind words for the people behind The Grammy's. Vernon was then asked to perform @ the televised awards ceremony, albeit along with a few other up-and-comers, to which he graciously declined. Justin said he'd much rather collaborate spontaneously with friends. Man, I could only imagine Bon Iver's rapping buddies walking out onto the nationally-aired stage and spitting some luxurious bars for American TV!

Bon Iver ended up winning The Grammy for Best "New" Artist last night, which now don't get me wrong, is a great and well-deserved feat... But Justin Vernon is far from a "new artist." Quite the contrary - he's actually considered something of Indie Rock Royalty, amongst his peers and just about ANY college hipster; Oh, the irony of it all! Justin Vernon's past efforts include a wide array of local area Eau Claire, WI bands with friends: GAYNGS, "Hazeltons EP" (2006), JD Vernon, DeYarmond Edison, and Mount Vernon. While a new Bon Iver album might not surface for 3-5 or so years, Justin Vernon sure is keeping busy. He's currently working on a number of assorted side projects @ "April Base:" The Shouting Matches, Alicia Keys, Volcano Choir, The Flaming Lips, etc.

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