Big Red Machine releases ‘Renegade’ featuring Taylor Swift and announce their forthcoming newest album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? due out August 27.
The news of the band’s second album came alongside single ‘Latter Days’ featuring the vocals of Justin Vernon and Anaïs Mitchell, followed by the Aaron Dessner-lead vocal track, ‘Ghost of Cincinnati’.
The instant-classic earworm can be summed up by the poignant lyric “Is it insensitive for me to say / get your sh*t together so I can love you.” The song was recorded in Los Angeles at the Kitty Committee studio in March 2021, the same week that Swift and Dessner took home the GRAMMY for Album of the Year for ‘folklore’.
“While we were making ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ last year, Taylor and I sometimes talked about experimenting and writing songs together some day for Big Red Machine.”
“Making music with your friends just to make it — that’s how Big Red Machine started and has grown — and that’s how ‘Renegade’ came about too. This song was something we wrote after we finished ‘evermore’ and it dawned on us that this was a BRM song. Taylor’s words hit me so hard when I heard her first voice memo and still do, every time. Justin lifted the song further into the heavens, and my brother [Bryce Dessner]’s strings and drummer Jason Treuting add so much. The feeling and sound of this song feel very much at the heart of ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’ I’m so grateful to Taylor for continuing to share her incredible talent with me and that we are still finding excuses to make music together.”
‘Renegade’ is the third track released by Big Red Machine this week alone. The band shared ‘The Ghost of Cincinnati’ on Wednesday, a track where Dessner takes the lead on vocals, and the follow-up to their Tuesday release ‘Latter Days’.
“The Ghost of Cincinnati is one that I play and sing all by my lonesome. It was inspired by a screenplay called “Dandelion” by the filmmaker Nicole Riegel (who co-wrote the lyrics with me), which my brother Bryce and I are working on,” explained Dessner. “It’s about someone who feels like a ghost, stalking the streets of their hometown, interrogating the past and contemplating their fate – something I can deeply relate to. I imagine this could be a little bit about myself, or friends I’ve lost or someone who has overextended and overspent themselves to a point where they’ve lost everything, empty and hollow like a ghost.”
The generous spirit and desire to push music forward has never been more deeply felt than on Big Red Machine’s ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’, the second album from Aaron Dessner’s ever-morphing project with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
Collaborators and friends show up across the album, continuing the reciprocal exchange of ideas that has come to define their creative community. Songs feature guest vocals and writing contributions from artist friends including Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold (“Phoenix”), Ben Howard and This Is The Kit (“June’s a River”), Naeem (“Easy to Sabotage”), Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan and My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova (“Hutch”) and Swift herself (“Birch” and “Renegade”). Swift’s sister albums ‘folklore’ and ‘evermore’ were co-produced by Dessner, and her encouragement helped Dessner realize “how connected this Big Red Machine music was to everything else I was doing, and that I was always supposed to be chasing these ideas.”
“That’s what makes it special. With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”