A month after her play Hadestown took home the most awards at this year’s Tony Awards, singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell has announced her latest project Bonny Light Horseman, a folk supergroup of sorts with multi-instrumentalist/producer Josh Kaufman (The National, Hiss Golden Messenger) and Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats).
In advance of their forthcoming debut album, the trio released their lead single, a mercurial, down-tempo rendition of “Bonny Light Horseman,” an English-Irish broadside ballad that dates back to the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century. Mitchell sings lead on the song, which also features Aaron Dessner on guitar.
“This is a song about a handsome soldier who may or may not ever come home. And we named our band after [the song] not because it sounds kind of cool, but because it’s somewhat emblematic of what we’re trying to d here,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.