Big Red Machine (Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner) Share New Song “The Ghost of Cincinnati”

Jun 30, 2021

By Mark Redfern

Photography by Graham Tolbert


Big Red Machine (aka Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner) are releasing a new album, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, on August 27 via 37d03d. The album was only announced yesterday, but they’ve already shared its second single, “The Ghost of Cincinnati,” which features lead vocals by Dessner. Listen below.

Dessner had this to say about the song on Instagram: “It’s about someone who feels like a ghost, stalking the streets of their hometown, interrogating the past and contemplating their fate—something I can deeply relate to. I imagine this could be a little bit about myself, or friends I’ve lost or someone who has overextended and overspent themselves to a point where they’ve lost everything, empty and hollow like a ghost.”

Yesterday the band shared the album’s first single, “Latter Days,” which features guest vocals from Anaïs Mitchell. The album also features Fleet Foxes, Taylor Swift, Sharon Van Etten, This Is the Kit, and others.

How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? is the follow-up to their 2018-released self-titled debut album. Dessner produced the album and it was recorded at his Long Pond studio in Upper Hudson Valley, NY.

Dessner, who sings lead vocals for the first time on three tracks on the album, had this to say about it in a press release: “This is all music I initially generated and feel emotionally connected to, but it has been very interesting to hear how different people relate to it and how different voices collide with it. That’s what makes it special. 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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