Aaron Dessner, Bon Iver Project Big Red Machine Drop “Renegade,” Featuring Taylor Swift

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Big Red Machine, the collaborative effort between The National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon dropped a new single “Renegade,” featuring Taylor Swift. 

Reunited again with Dessner, who co-produced Swift’s back-to-back 2020 releases folklore and evermore, and Vernon, who appeared on the former album’s track “exile,” “Renegade” is one of two songs featuring Swift, off Big Red Machine’s upcoming album How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? out Aug. 27 (Jagjaguwar/37d03d).

Recorded by Swift and Dessner in March 2021 at Kitty Committee Studio in Los Angeles, with Vernon recording vocals remotely at his April Base studio, the song was written the week they picked up a Grammy for Album of the Year for folklore.

Big Red Machine’s Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner (Photo: Graham Tolbert)

“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,” said Dessner in a statement. “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.”

Swift also appears on a second track “Birch,” on the album, a follow up to the band’s self-titled debut in 2018. Previous singles “Ghosts of Cincinnati,” which was released two days before “Renegade” and features Dessner’s brother Bryce, along with lead track “Latter Days,” featuring singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, also appear on the How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? album with additional contributions by Sharon Van Etten, Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Ilsey, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, Lisa Hannigan, Naeem, This Is the Kit, La Force, and Ben Howard.

Working with Swift, Dessner said he realized how connected Big Red Machine’s music was to everything he was working on at the moment.

“That’s what makes it special,” said Dessner. “With everyone that’s on this record, there’s an openness, a creative generosity and an emotional quality that connects it all together.”

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