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Big Red Machine Team Up With Fleet Foxes And Anas Mitchell For New Song Phoenix

Friday, 23 July 2021 Written by Jon Stickler

Photo: Graham Tolbert 

Big Red Machine have collaborated with Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell for a new single, Phoenix.

Following the Taylor Swift-assisted Renegade, the track marks the fourth preview of the upcoming star-studded second album from the project of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner of The National. 

The lush, piano-based track was co-penned by Dessner, Vernon, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold, and Mitchell, who also appeared on the previously shared cut Latter Days. Co-production was handled by both Pecknold and Dessner, who said:

"Phoenix was one of the last songs we wrote for this record. 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 Anaïs 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."

Pecknold added: "It was a high, high honour to work on this song, and beyond that it was a really interesting creative challenge. 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."

The follow-up to 2018's self-titled debut is called 'How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?' and will arrive on August 27 through Jagjaguwar/37d03d.

Bon Iver will embark on a rescheduled UK and European tour this autumn, with dates on the continent also lined up for August. The National, meanwhile, have rearranged Irish shows in the diary for summer 2022.

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