Big Red Machine, the collaborative project led by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, shares self-titled debut: Stream

The Bon Iver and The National masterminds recruited an impressive array of contributors for the project

big red machine album stream national bon iver
Big Red Machine (Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon), photo by Graham Tolbert

    Today marks the release of the self-titled debut album from Big Red Machine, a project born from 2009’s Dark Was the Night benefit record, largely improvised sets at festivals like Eaux Claires, and the formation of the online PEOPLE collective. Subscribers of Spotify and Apple Music can stream it below.

    Headed by The National’s Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Big Red Machine is comprised of a motley crew of artists that include Bryce Dessner, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Lisa Hannigan, Phoebe Bridgers, The Staves, Hiss Golden Messenger’s JT Bates, and This is the Kit’s Kate Stables. The project announced its first LP in July, sharing singles such as “Gratitude” and “Deep Green”.


    Aaron Dessner spoke of how Big Red Machine and the PEOPLE collective coalesce in an interview with “I think Big Red Machine is very intertwined with it, because Big Red Machine was the first major creative project that was born in this new kind of reality. So we did this test, and I did this work embracing this whole idea of constantly collaborating with other people, with lots of different voices filtering into it. We wrote these songs together, but it’s the product of a community coming together to make something, and you hear that. I can hear it throughout. It has this communal energy.”

    Our review found there to be a few too many cooks in the kitchen. Reviewer Katherine Flynn faults the “clunky time signatures and unnecessary flourishes,” noting that it also features “some of the most head-scratching lyrics of Vernon’s career as a songwriter.”

    Big Red Machine Artwork:

    big red machine aaron dessner justin vernon album art cover Big Red Machine, the collaborative project led by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, shares self titled debut: Stream


    Big Red Machine Tracklist:
    01. Deep Green
    02. Gratitude
    03. Lyla
    04. Air Stryp
    05. Hymnostic
    06. Forest Green
    07. OMBD
    08. People Lullaby
    09. I Won’t Run from It
    10. Melt

    Aaron Dessner was a recent guest on our podcast This Must Be the Gig and spoke about curating Boston Calling, building a multidisciplinary lineup, and more. Listen to it here.


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