Aaron Dessner Takes Lead Vocal Duties On The New Big Red Machine Song ‘The Ghost Of Cincinnati’

The majority of the songs on the recently announced Big Machine project How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? have a guest, as the album features Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, Ben Howard, This Is The Kit, Naeem, Sharon Van Etten, Lisa Hannigan, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, and Taylor Swift. There are a handful of songs credited just to the group though, and on three of them, Aaron Dessner sings lead vocals, which is a first for him. Now, one of those songs, “The Ghost Of Cincinnati,” has been unveiled.

Dessner sings and plays acoustic guitar on the track. Dessner shared a statement about the song, writing on Instagram:

“The Ghost of Cincinnati is one that I play and sing all by my lonesome. It was inspired by a screenplay called ‘Dandelion’ by the filmmaker [Nicole Riegel] (who co-wrote the lyrics with me), which my brother [Bryce Dessner] and I are working on. 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.

Thanks to Justin, Taylor, Jack, my sister and brother for convincing me to sing more and to finish this song for the album.”

Dessner previously said of the project as a whole, “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.”

Listen to “The Ghost Of Cincinnati” above.

How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? is out 8/27 via Jagjaguwar/37d03d. Pre-order it here.