Big Red Machine‘s Aaron Dessner (The National) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) released “Phoenix,” a single featuring Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold and Anais Mitchell. The track is the fourth from How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, the sophomore Big Red Machine album.
The 15-track follow-up to Big Red Machine’s 2018 self-titled debut studio album is due out through Jagjaguwar/37d03d on August 27. “Phoenix” follows the release of How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? singles “Latter Days,” “The Ghost Of Cincinnati” and “Renegade.” The latter features Taylor Swift.
Vernon, Dessner, Pecknold and Mitchell co-wrote “Phoenix” with Robin and Aaron co-producing. The new single is the first ever collaboration between Robin Pecknold and Big Red Machine. Aaron shared the following regarding “Phoenix”:
“‘Phoenix’ was one of the last songs we wrote for this record,” Aaron Dessner shares. “I was thinking about The Band and the Grateful Dead …maybe imagining this Big Red Machine album was some version of the Last Waltz. Justin first heard it while driving and immediately the chorus melody came into his head. I shared the sketch with Robin Pecknold, who I’ve been a fan of forever and who I’d been dreaming would join us on this record. Robin wrote the verses and pre chorus as a kind of dialogue with Justin, recalling a conversation they once had backstage in Phoenix. Later Anais wrote words to the chorus and the Westerlies added their magic to the instrumental. JT Bates rumbles around in rare form on the drums on this song. I think it’s what I always imagined Big Red Machine would sound like.”
“It was a high, high honor to work on this song, and beyond that it was a really interesting creative challenge,” added Robin Pecknold. “Justin’s vocals and the beautiful chorus were already in place before I got my hands on it, so I felt my job melodically and lyrically was to set his entrance up in the best possible way. I felt like a pilgrim putting questions to an elusive sage, not needing clear answers, but happy for the chance to ask.”
“Phoenix” features a brass arrangement by The Westerlies. Additional contributors include drummer JT Bates, trombonists Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch and trumpeters Riley Mulherkar and Chloe Rowlands. Stream Big Red Machine’s “Phoenix” single featuring Anaïs Mitchell and Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold below: