5 Albums You Didn’t Know Were Produced by Aaron Dessner

Since the band’s formation in 1999, Aaron Dessner has garnered acclaim as the seasoned guitarist and founding member of the indie rock outfit The National. He’s proven himself as a multi-talented artist, forming the duo Big Red Machine with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and serving as a lineup curator for multiple music festivals.

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Dessner’s talents as a producer became widely known with the release of Taylor Swift‘s eighth studio album, Folklore. The project, which the pair created during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, is a surprising sonic departure from Swift’s previous electro-pop LP, Lover. The intimate indie-folk album was a critical and commercial success, earning the title of Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards. 

Just five months after Folklore, Swift surprised fans by dropping Evermore, her second record produced by Dessner. The emotional, narrative-driven project earned widespread praise and gave the pair their second consecutive Grammy nomination.

[RELATED: Taylor Swift Reminisces on “Seven” Duet with Aaron Dessner]

But before he collaborated with Swift, Dessner used his thoughtful, creative vision to produce some of the last decade’s best indie rock and alt-pop albums. Discover five incredible albums produced by Dessner for other artists below.

1. Hummingbird, Local Natives

The success of indie rock group Local Natives’ 2009 debut album, Gorilla Manor, landed them as touring support for The National. While on the road together, Dessner agreed to work with them on their next project. The result was Hummingbird, an engaging, autobiographical journey through the emotional gamut that follows personal loss.

2. Good Riddance, Gracie Abrams

One of Dessner’s latest works as a producer, Good Riddance acts as Gracie Abrams’ introduction into the pop music community. The daughter of award-winning film director J.J. Abrams paves her own creative path with her 2023 full-length record, which helped the 23-year-old secure a spot opening for Taylor Swift on the first leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour.

3. Half Moon Light, The Lone Bellow

Indie-folk trio The Lone Bellow recruited Dessner for their fourth album, Half Moon Light. Released in February 2020, COVID-19 lockdowns forced the band to halt performances and promotional appearances shortly after its release. Even with these unprecedented obstacles, the album was a commercial success, peaking at No. 4 on Billboard‘s Folk Albums chart.

4. Painting of a Panic Attack, Frightened Rabbit

In 2016, Scottish rock band Frightened Rabbit released what would become the band’s final album, Painting of a Panic Attack. Their fifth record expanded their sound with new electronic elements, offering a surprising departure from their acclaimed 2013 LP, Pedestrian Verse.

5. Tramp, Sharon Van Etten

Dessner made his impressive debut as a producer with the release of Sharon Van Etten’s 2012 record Tramp. Crafted inside his makeshift New York City garage studio, this stunning and intimate collection includes collaborations with experimental ambient artist Julianna Barwick, Beirut’s Zach Condon, and Wye Oak founding member Jenn Wasner. 

(Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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