BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN – ” Bonny Light Horseman “

Posted: August 6, 2019 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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One of the year’s best folk records is by a supergroup comprised of some of the most accomplished artists in music today. We’ve got Anaïs Mitchell, the force behind Hadestown, Eric D. Johnson, leader of the Fruit Bats, and Josh Kaufman, composer/writer/arranger who’s penned music for everyone from Bob Weir to The National. Their debut LP finds the trio reimagining centuries-old English, Irish and Appalachian tunes in a way that sounds modern and new. Take the set’s lead track “Bonny Light Horseman,” for example, a ballad about a soldier killed during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. The trio’s storytelling prowess is on full display here.

Fresh off their debut appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, Anaïs Mitchell (whose Hadestown recently led the 2019 Tony Awards with eight wins, including ‘Best Musical’), Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats), and Josh Kaufman (Craig Finn, Josh Ritter, The National) officially announce their new group, Bonny Light Horseman. The trio has also shared their debut single “Bonny Light Horseman,” a cover of the folk ballad that features Aaron Dessner on hi string guitar, as well as JT Bates (Big Red Machine, Phil Cook) on drums and Michael Lewis (Bon Iver) on tenor sax — both of whom also perform with Bonny Light Horseman live. Johnson explains, “This is a song about a handsome soldier who may or may not ever come home. 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.”

This past weekend, Bonny Light Horseman performed one of their first shows (“our fourth or five,” Johnson approximated) to a packed crowd at Newport Folk Festival. The group first formed in 2018 during a residency at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Festival. Bonny Light Horseman will go on the road with Mandolin Orange next month.

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