Bon Iver is the most successful to date project conceived by the performer and songwriter Justine Vernon. Its name is most likely a corruption of the spelling of the French collocation ‘good winter’. Winter was the season when the Bon Iver idea became a reality. The music for his only so far album was recorded in the picturesque mountain area in Wisconsin. While studying at the World Religious faculty and playing for the all-state football team, energetic Vernon joined the indie-rock band DeYarmond Edison. With the view to get their name known far beyond the borders of the native city, the musicians relocated to North Carolina. Although group was working hard and productively there, the new place was not friendly to Vernon. He conflicted with the rest of the band and broke up with his girlfriend. Deep in confusion and despair, Justine he came back home.
Vernon presumed to start his new life in a remote hunting cabin lost in the Northeastern Wisconsin. He spent four months in complete seclusion, deer hunting by day and playing blues at night. He found peace for his heart and musical inspiration in the wild area amidst huge snowdrifts and thick forests. As Vernon confessed, he had not come there to practice music or, furthermore, record a whole album. His regular music training in loneliness brought him the ideas of certain songs, and the songs in their turn formed gradually the material for an album. It was the moment when Justine first came to the thought of creating the Bon Iver project. What he made eventually resulted in an endlessly sad and beautiful work under the romantic title For Emma, Forever Ago (2007). While Emma is the name of his ex-girlfriend, Vernon admitted that his work was based on the speculations over the years he had lived, the mistakes he had made and the experience he had gained. The music was a perfect reflection of the atmosphere surrounding the musicians as he was making it.
Back from the mountains, Vernon started the distribution of his record via Internet and grew surprised with how enthusiastically the listeners met his songs. The global net helped the musician meet the representatives of the English company 4AD, that took up the release of For Emma, Forever Ago throughout Europe in the early 2008. The performer of the work was stated as Bon Iver, not Justine Vernon. The indie label Jagiaguwar sealed the agreement with the performer to distribute the album in the USA. The songs by Bon Iver impressed deeply both the audience and the critics. Several musical magazines unanimously put the highest marks to the album calling it the best release of the month. The tracks from this long player were picked for the soundtracks to a number of TV shows. In September 2008, Bon Iver debuted as a guest of one of the TV programs on the national channel. Vernon clearly stated that this overwhelming success stunned him as he would never have though that the personal stuff that he had written would find so much understanding and response among the wide audience. Early in 2009, Bon Iver released the EP Blood Bank, a sort of addendum to the For Emma, Forever Ago recordings.