Hear Taylor Swift Join Big Red Machine on ‘Renegade’

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Big Red Machine and Taylor Swift - Credit: Graham Tolbert and James Reynolds
Big Red Machine and Taylor Swift - Credit: Graham Tolbert and James Reynolds

Big Red Machine — the collaborative project of the National’s Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon — have dropped a new single, “Renegade,” featuring vocals from Taylor Swift.

Swift and Aaron Dessner recorded “Renegade” in Los Angeles at the Kitty Committee studio in March 2021. The song was created by Swift and Dessner the same week they took home the Grammy for Album of the Year for folklore. Vernon recorded additional vocals at his studio, April Base.

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The song will appear on the band’s upcoming album, How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?, out August 27th via Jagjaguwar/37d03d.

“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,” Dessner said 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.”

He added, “Taylor’s words hit me so hard when I heard her first voice memo and still do, every time. Justin [Vernon] lifted the song further into the heavens, and my brother [Bryce Dessner]’s strings and drummer Jason Treuting add so much. The feeling and sound of this song feel very much at the heart of ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’ I’m so grateful to Taylor for continuing to share her incredible talent with me and that we are still finding excuses to make music together.”

On Twitter, Swift added, “When @Aaron_Dessner came into my life, I was ushered into his world of free-flowing creativity where you don’t overthink, you just make music.”

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How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? is the second album from Big Red Machine. The group previously shared “Ghosts of Cincinnati” and “Latter Days,” which will also appear on their new album. Swift recorded vocals for two tracks, “Renegade” and a song called “Birch.”

According to a release, Dessner’s work with Swift as co-producer of folklore and evermore helped him realize “how connected this Big Red Machine music was to everything else I was doing, and that I was always supposed to be chasing these ideas.”

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

Other contributors to How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? include Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Ilsey, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, Naeem, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, La Force, Ben Howard, and This Is the Kit.

The album is available for preorder here.

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