I hear The Band influence that Aaron Dessner mentions in the press release however this tune doesn’t sound ramshackle enough. It’s a little too controlled, there needs to be more chaos otherwise it comes across as nice. The worst thing a song can be called is “Nice” …or “Safe.”
Big Red Machine released “Phoenix (feat. Fleet Foxes and Anaïs Mitchell)”, the fourth track off their newest album, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?” due out August 27 on Jagjaguwar / 37d03d. The track follows “Latter Days (feat. Anaïs Mitchell)”, “The Ghost of Cincinnati”, and “Renegade Feat. Taylor Swift” which currently sits at #19 and climbing on the US mediabase HotAC chart. Keeping with the collaborative energy behind Big Red Machine, “Phoenix” was co-written by Aaron Dessner, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold, Justin Vernon and Anaïs Mitchell with co-production credit for both Pecknold and Dessner. “Phoenix” marks the first collaboration between Pecknold and Big Red Machine.
“‘Phoenix’ was one of the last songs we wrote for this record,” Aaron Dessner shares. “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,” commented Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold. “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.”