Bonny Light Horseman has been hailed as a supergroup, but the band is adamant they're not just a one-off side project.
At the band's album release show Jan. 24 at Mississippi Studios for their eponymous debut, it was easy to understand their commitment.
Comprising Fruit Bats' Eric Johnson, Tony Award-winning songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman, the trio breathes life and originality into the folk standards on Bonny Light Horseman. So it's no surprise the compositions were even more vivacious live. The heavenly voices of Mitchell, who is seven months pregnant, and Johnson induced goose bumps. Kaufman—who has played with everyone from the Grateful Dead's Bob Weir to the National—provided delicate fills and roaring, Jerry Garcia-indebted psychedelia.
Rare indeed is the act that can send chills down your spine with the Napoleonic war lament "Bonny Light Horseman" one moment, and the very next has the crowd hooting and hollering to a rowdy jam that seemed destined for a late-night set at Pickathon.
Both the audience and the band appeared to understand this was a special grouping, and since they're brand new, the band's limits seem distant to nonexistent. After all, Bonny Light Horseman is no side project.