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Bonny Light Horseman

About this Artist

Bonny Light Horseman joins the Jagjaguwar family ready to embrace life’s wonderful, abundant chaos. Confident and generous, their lead single “When I Was Younger” kicks off the band’s most vulnerable and bounteous era to date.

Over the years, Bonny Light Horseman has accumulated many miles on the collective odometer of life. The band’s core trio – Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman – has amassed an incomparable collected resume. Mitchell is a celebrated solo artist as well as the playwright and songwriter behind the hit Broadway musical Hadestown, which notched eight Tony Awards and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Johnson is best known as the mind behind beloved indie mainstays Fruit Bats, as a longtime collaborator with The Shins, and as a film score composer. And Kaufman is a multi-hyphenate extraordinaire: songwriter, producer, and position player, having recorded and performed with artists ranging from Bob Weir to The War on Drugs to Taylor Swift, Hiss Golden Messenger and The Hold Steady. As a group, Bonny Light Horseman’s debut album received a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, and the track "Deep in Love" was nominated for Best American Roots Performance. 

More important than any of this, though, they’ve also lived a big ol’ messy and tangled up pile of life, and all that living permeates their music with the wisdom, humor, and depth that underlies the accolades. Theirs is the stuff that defines folk music as a genre: love and loss, hope and sorrow, community and family, change and time. The Big Stuff, with the stakes sky high. 

At the center of Bonny Light Horseman is, always, the singular combination of three powerful and tender artists, artists who expertly dodge superlatives but are quick to acknowledge that their bond makes each one better, braver and more vulnerable than they’d be on their own. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the force of their voices together, which work with complete trust in one another through the gentlest moments and the most ruthless wails. 

“When I Was Younger” is one such wail, revolutionary for its open reckoning with motherhood, maturation, and all of the things polite society doesn’t say out loud. In the song, Mitchell and Johnson’s honeyed voices meet and transform into a two-headed beast formed from pent-up emotion; its roar is necessary, beautiful and scary. Recorded at Levis (pronounced: “leh-viss”) Corner House, a century-old watering hole in Ballydehob, County Cork, “When I Was Younger” also features the sound of the pub’s crowd. Their inclusion – the coughs, the cars, chorus of shouts – articulate all that life being lived inside and outside of art. 

As they round the corner toward a new album, Bonny Light Horseman arrive with a distinct sense of grace, and a reminder that life is most lived when things aren’t so perfect.