Big Red Machine, the duo of Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon, have another new song from their upcoming album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? “Phoenix” is a collaboration with Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell. Listen to it below.
“It was a great, great honor to work on this song, and on top of that, it was a really interesting creative challenge,” said Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes in a statement. Justin’s chant and beautiful chorus were there before I came. I felt like a pilgrim asking questions to an elusive sage, not needing clear answers, but happy to have the opportunity to ask them. ”
Aaron Dessner added:
“Phoenix” was one of the last songs we wrote for this album. I thought about the band and the Grateful Dead … maybe I imagined this Big Red Machine album was a version of the Last Waltz. Justin heard it for the first time while driving and immediately the chorus melody came to mind. I shared the sketch with Robin Pecknold, who I’ve always been a fan and who I had dreamed of joining us on this record. Robin wrote the verses and the prechoir as a kind of dialogue with Justin, remembering a conversation they had once had backstage in Phoenix. Anaïs later wrote words for the chorus and the Westerlies added their magic to the instrumental. JT Bates rumbles on the drums in a rare way on this song. I think that’s how I always imagined Big Red Machine.
Big Red Machine had previously shared one of Taylor Swift’s two features on the Renegade album. Anaïs Mitchell was previously featured on the single “Latter Days”, and the band subsequently shared “The Ghost of Cincinnati”.
Big Red Machine’s self-titled debut album was released in 2018. Fleet Foxes released their new album Shore last year.