Passenger was once a full band, but after the release of their 2007 debut album, Wicked Man’s Rest, the band broke up.
Michael Rosenberg kept the name, taking a risk to start a solo career. Equipped with only a guitar and arsenal of personal songs, Passenger set offinnto the streets of the U.K. and eventually abroad, playing on street corners, pubs — anywhere people would listen. Passenger eventually graduated from street corners to playing real gigs as a supporting act to Australian artists such as Lior and the Sydneysiders. While in Australia he also played at One Movement, a big-time music-industry festival in Perth. Soon enough, Passenger became no stranger to large crowds, and over this recent summer he toured with big names like Ed Sheeran on his U.S. and U.K. tour, and Australian artists such as the John Butler Trio and Josh Pyke. He has five albums out and his latest release, All the Little Lights, was in August of this year.
Passenger is a performer in the simplest of terms: he does not use flashy hooks or synthesized tracks to draw a listener in — just his voice and a few plucks on his guitar. Passenger’s music is authentic in that he sings about everyday occurrences and stories; most of his songs are based on experiences he has had while “busking” and playing on the streets. What is captivating about Passenger is his raspy, nasally tenor that quivers in all the right places and adds a deeper emotion to his songs.
Passenger’s genre is a folk, acoustic, grassroots kind of music. He cites Neil Young, Van Morrison, and The Smiths as influences, to name a few. Rosenberg is a musician who exudes a certain authenticity and the grit in his songs captivates the listener.
Rosenberg has stated he prefers the lo-fi simplicity of busking and playing on the streets to big arenas and festivals. And, actually, it is through his traveling and impromptu street performances that he has slowly built his fan base, not just in the U.K. and Australia, but now in the U.S., too, thanks to his recent stint with Ed Sheeran.
In each one of Rosenberg’s songs you can tell he pours himself entirely into each word, every note taking his listener on a journey. All of these albums are now available on iTunes for download and each one is worth a listen. Passenger stands out from the crowd is his versatility; he can sound great anywhere, whether it’s on record, a street corner, or at a large concert hall. Passenger is simply talented, not only as a musician but as a songwriter and both come through in his music. He is just a guy with a guitar who is having the time of his life doing what he loves: writing music and singing.
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