When Anaïs Mitchell, Josh Kaufman, and Eric D. Johnson convened as Bonny Light Horseman in 2018, each member already had the kind of career about which they once only dreamed.
Anais Mitchell had made a string of albums at the vanguard of modern folk songcraft, even before her musical Hadestown became a Broadway runaway hit and ran in London at the National Theatre.
As a producer and multi-instrumentalist, Josh Kaufman had worked with an array of heroes and peers, from Bob Weir and The National to The War on Drugs and Josh Ritter. For nearly a quarter-century, Johnson had penned intricate indie pop as Fruit Bats.
But Mitchell had never been in any band that wasn’t playing only her songs. Johnson had long been focused only on his band (assorted collaborations like The Shins notwithstanding), its sole constant member. And Kaufman largely worked to enhance the visions and hopes of others’ bands. Bonny Light Horseman the band, then, offered that very rare adult opportunity—to learn something new with new friends, with a safety net waiting beneath as needed.
No net would prove necessary. Their self-titled first album in 2020 is being followed up this October by Rolling Golden Holy - 11 songs, all originals, written and realised by the trio. They follow the paths of the traditional tunes the band cherishes to new musical and lyrical frontiers.