Show Recap: Bonny Light Horseman - Local Wolves


Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY — June 19, 2024

“Oh, friend, the time we spent is coming to an end,” is the last thing someone would want to hear at a Bonny Light Horseman show — and yet, it feels just right. In lieu of their latest record Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free, the trio took to the Music Hall of Williamsburg for two nights of zealous song and sway.

It’s a glorious sight: the Hall packed shoulder to shoulder, smiles deep and true reflecting on both sides of the stage. There is warmth and homeliness, things that can be scarce in tireless cities like New York. But works like Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free come along and, suddenly, Brooklyn is aglow. Having utilized an Irish pub as one of the main recording hubs for the album, it’s no surprise that Bonny Light Horseman upholds this roots-bound, community-seeking warmth when live and in color. There’s a particular kind of earnestness that surrounds Josh Kaufman, Eric D. Johnson, and Anaïs Mitchell. It smiles at you, suspended in midair after each hearty delivery. Tender yet gripping vocals curve around the room and wrap us up tight. The folk contemporaries sing with a forward step, strum with a forward step, look out onto the audience and encourage a communal forward step. It’s a step towards loving when it’s true (“I Know You Know”) or towards the reflection of your past self (“When I Was Younger”). Still, it’s never a step backwards. In an age where hiding only grows more satiating, Bonny Light Horseman beckons listeners into the sun.

“Oh, friend, the time we spent is coming to an end.” It’s bittersweet. The trio bids us farewell with “Bonny Light Horseman,” the eponymous track from their eponymous first album. In an evening glittered with everything ranging from delicate hopes to hopeful love, leaving could appear daunting. But there is a strength stirring beneath the crowd. It is not loud or demanding of attention, but it is earnest. It compels us to take a step forward.

Words & Photography: Victoria Huerta

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