“I was actually the second person ever to hear 'For Emma, Forever Ago,'" remembers Moen.
Drummer Brian Moen and Justin Vernon -- the angelic voice behind Bon Iver – go way back: along with guitarist Phil Cook, Moen and Vernon formed the blues-rock trio Shouting Matches in Wisconsin on one June night in 2006. The old friends never took the group too seriously and played only one gig together as a trio – a tiny hometown show in Eau Claire, WI nearly seven years ago. Last weekend, however, Shouting Matches reunited for only their second show as a trio, this time at a slightly bigger venue – the 2013 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
The group’s revival has a lot to do with Vernon’s musical exploits during the seven-year interim. “I was actually the second person ever to hear ‘For Emma, Forever Ago,’” remembers Moen of Bon Iver's 2007 debut album. “I was out in the cabin where he recorded it, and we were having a Shouting Matches rehearsal.” Vernon’s reclusive sessions in the Wisconsin woods, which produced his heartbreakingly beautiful debut, have since become indie-rock folklore. But for Moen at the time, it was all rather commonplace – listening to an old friend’s many creative projects.