Musicians have different definitions of when they’ve truly “made it.” For some it may be performing at a legendary venue in their hometown, for others the bar might be a little higher – winning a Grammy®, perhaps. For Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), it probably was winning the Grammy for Best New Artist – though a close second might be Justin Timberlake making fun of him on Saturday Night Live.
So what is Vernon doing by releasing an album with his old Wisconsin friends, The Shouting Matches? Shouldn’t he capitalize on Bon Iver’s newfound fame? Turns out, Vernon just wants to let loose and have fun without the pressure of one-upping his revered debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, and its breakthrough follow-up, Bon Iver. In that sense, he definitely succeeded; no one is going to mistake The Shouting Matches’ Grownass Man for a Bon Iver record.
Vernon’s ditched his signature falsetto and lush musical landscapes in favor a ragged croon that fits the band’s bluesy rock instrumentals. The album is short at only 35 minutes long, but that’s kind of the point – time flies when you’re having fun! The album is less folksy than the Americana movement sweeping the radio today (Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, etc.), but should appeal to fans of that genre.
Grownass Man will be released next Tuesday, April 16 – much to the surprise of the music community. Few knew it was coming until NPR posted a full stream of the album yesterday, which you can listen to here. And as if you needed another reason to go to Coachella, The Shouting Matches will be performing both weekends!