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Bonny Light Horseman (Anais Mitchell, Fruit Bats, Josh Kaufman) share debut single

Bonny Light Horseman
photo by D. James Goodwin

Bonny Light Horseman — a new supergroup featuring Anais Mitchell, Eric D Johnson (Fruit Bats), and The National/Craig Finn/Hiss Golden Messenger collaborator Josh Kaufman — first came to fruition at the 2018 edition of Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner’s Eaux Claires festival, and they continued to develop the project at the 2018 Berlin addition of Vernon and Dessner’s 37d03d (aka PEOPLE) Festival, and then also performed at the Brooklyn edition of 37d03d earlier this year. Last weekend they played again at Newport Folk Festival., and they’ve got more dates coming up, including Pickathon this weekend, and they’ve now shared their first studio single, a cover of the traditional folk ballad that the band’s name comes from.

Bonny Light Horseman’s rendition of “Bonny Light Horseman” features Aaron Dessner on guitar, plus JT Bates (who works with Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon’s band Big Red Machine) on drums and Michael Lewis (who works with Bon Iver) on sax. It’s a gorgeous version of the song, done in the style of early ’70s folk rock but with a modern-day indie twist. “This is a song about a handsome soldier who may or may not ever come home,” Eric D Jonhson says. “And we named our band after it not just because it sounds kind of cool, but because it’s somewhat emblematic of what we’re trying to do here: sing you ancient love songs of timeless humanity and heartbreak. Songs that are gonna make you feel something no matter what century you’re in.”

Bonny Light Horseman will be revealing information on their debut album soon, so stay tuned. Listen to the new song and see the full list of tour dates below.

In related news, the Broadway adaptation of Anais Mitchell’s album Hadestown (which featured Justin Vernon as a guest singer) is on sale through July 5, 2020, and Fruit Bats are touring. Fruit Bats are also playing Pickathon this weekend, with Josh Kaufman in the band.

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Bonny Light Horseman — 2019 Tour Dates
08/01 & 03 – Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
09/03 – Evanston, IL @ SPACE
09/04 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Frederik Meijer Gardens*
09/05 – Indianapolis, IN @ LO-FI
09/06 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium*

* supporting Mandolin Orange

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