Combining all their talents, Fruit Bats’ Eric Johnson, Josh Kaufman and Hadestown mastermind Anaïs Mitchell have joined forces for new group Bonny Light Horseman, and the three have released their eponymous debut single.
The cover of the classic folk ballad is poignant, and features guitar from The National’s Aaron Dessner, drums from JT Bates and tenor sax from Bon Iver’s Michael Lewis. Both Bates and Lewis perform live with the group, as well.
“This is a song about a handsome soldier who may or may not ever come home,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”
The band made their festival debut at Newport Folk Festival last week, but their beginning goes back to Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires festival in 2018. The band had a 37d03d residency, and from there, the band ignited. After the residency at Eaux Claires, the band traveled to Berlin for the 37d03d festival, and in May 2019 they performed at the 37d03d festival in Brooklyn. While traveling and performing, the band sparked the beginning of their forthcoming album, as well.
While little else is known about the album at the moment, the group have some tour dates slated for the fall, including a pair of support dates for Mandolin Orange.
For now, listen to Bonny Light Horseman’s eponymous track below, and find Fruit Bats’ 2016 Paste Studio session and the band’s fall tour dates further down.
Bonny Light Horseman Tour Dates:
01 – Happy Valley, Ore. @ Pickathon
03 – Happy Valley, Ore. @ Pickathon
03 – Evanston, Ill. @ SPACE
04 – Grand Rapids, Mich. @ Frederik Meijer Gardens*
05 – Indianspolis, Ind. @ LO-FI
06 – Nashville, Tenn. @ The Ryman Auditorium*
(* – supporting Mandolin Orange)