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Bon Iver

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Bon Iver is the name singer/songwriter Justin Vernon chose for his solo project when he retreated to a cabin in Wisconsin during 2006. He emerged from the isolation with an album -- For Emma, Forever Ago -- that became an indie folk touchstone. The gentle strumming of acoustic guitars, subtle arrangements, and Vernon's swooning falsetto combined to create a mood that felt like backwoods Radiohead recorded by candlelight. It was a sound that resonated with a great many people, and Vernon became something of a bearded sensation -- feted by outlets as diverse as Mojo and Late Night with David Letterman, and collaborating with Kanye West (the first of many hookups with hip-hop artists through the following years).