Cincinnati native Matt Berninger is one of the numerous celebrity cameos featured in the anticipated new Between Two Ferns: The Movie. The Zach Galifianakis comedy based on the popular Funny or Die web series premieres today on Netflix.
Berninger, singer for Indie Rock sensations The National, duets with singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers on the new song "Walking On A String" during a barroom scene in the film.
"Walking On A String" was written by Berninger, Carin Besser and Mike Brewer, who was in Berninger's pre-National band Nancy, a group formed when they were students at the University of Cincinnati that also featured National bassist Scott Devendorf. Brewer still lives in Cincinnati and was a member of former Columbus/Cincy band the Black Owls.
"Walking On A String" was also recorded with guitarist Walter Martin and drummer Matt Barrick of The Walkmen. A press release says the song "was recorded in two versions — presented in both soaring, lush pop glory and as hushed, chilled-out Americana."
"Walking On A String" will be released as a single on Oct. 17 through the Dead Oceans label.
Between Two Ferns: The Movie's writer/director Scott Aukerman is friends with Berninger and The National has appeared on Aukerman's podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! According to a press release, Aukerman gave Berninger "carte blanche" to create whatever he wanted for the film, as long as it "would sound right at home being performed in a bar scene set in the heartland of America."
Galifianakis has a tie to Berninger, as well. He and his Bored to Death co-star Ted Danson once did a Funny or Die video in which they recreated a scene from Mistaken for Strangers, a National tour documentary made by Berninger's younger brother Tom, as part of a planned Mistaken for Strangers: The Play show. (Sadly, the video seems to have disappeared from Funny or Die's site and YouTube channel.)
In other The National news — a new Classical album from guitarist Bryce Dessner and Hamburg-based Ensemble Resonanz titled Tenebre was announced today. Dessner is back in his hometown this weekend for the U.S. premiere of his Concerto for Two Pianos, which is being performed tonight and tomorrow at Music Hall with the sister duo Katia and Marielle Labèque and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.