Big Red Machine share “Phoenix” ft. Fleet Foxes & Anais Mitchell
Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes both defined indie folk in the late 2000s, with 2007's For Emma, Forever Ago and 2008's Fleet Foxes, respectively, and now frontmen Justin Vernon and Robin Pecknold have teamed up for their first song together, "Phoenix." It's the latest single off the new album from Justin and Aaron Dessner's Big Red Machine, How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last? (pre-order on red vinyl), and it also features longtime Justin Vernon collaborator Anaïs Mitchell, who guests on other album tracks too. "Phoenix" feels golden, loose, and sun-kissed, and you can watch the lyric video for it below.
"'Phoenix' was one of the last songs we wrote for this record," Aaron says. "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," Robin adds. "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."
Justin tweeted, "When a project grows and changes. I love that Aaron has encouraged and allowed it not to be pinned down. This song out today may be my favorite fruit from the BRM tree. Robin humbles everyone and Anais crushes. A song made for Jt Bates to drum. Go out."