arts 02.29.08

The Sweetest Sounds

Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, is a Wisconsin native who has that state's winters in his DNA (bon hiver, indeed). His gorgeous debut solo album, "For Emma, Forever Ago," is all whistling wind and snow as far as the eye can see. We hear flashes of Iron & Wine and Loney Dear, but mostly it's exquisitely wrought all on its own. And we mean on its own.

Hear Sheera Ben-David sing composer John Bucchino's "If I Ever Say I'm Over You" here. Quite a set of pipes. Hear them live at the Metropolitan Room, March 3, 10, and 31, 7pm.

Victoria Clark's album, Fifteen Seconds of Grace, consists mostly of fresh, contemporary theater music, which Ms. Clark approaches with her customary intelligence and bathes in her warm, enveloping soprano. When she tackles a standard such as "I Got Lost in His Arms," well, let's just say that you won't hear a more shimmering version in this lifetime.

Nearly a deer in the headlights when he's not singing, 17-year-old David Archulino is the discovery of this season's "American Idol." Once he starts to sing, though, he's the sweetest old soul around. Check out his version of "Imagine" here.

"Lovers Prayers," is the new album from Ida, the band founded by Daniel Littleton and Elizabeth Mitchell, now on its seventh full-length release. This one, recorded near Woodstock, NY, is both rich and spare: a mature reflection of life and love—you know, that kind of stuff. Ida does make the sweetest sounds.

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