If you ever thought Passenger was just the name behind the super hit ‘Let Her Go’, you are quite mistaken. Try telling that to almost 2,000 dedicated fans at the Brighton Dome on Sunday night. After a staggering ten studio albums, Passenger has built an impressive back catalogue of finely constructed, emotive songs, all of which are adored by his fans.
It was only last summer that Mike Rosenberg (a.k.a. Passenger) announced that he was taking a break from the constant treadmill of touring, just before a surprise release of his ninth studio album, The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Taking into consideration the current album title, he is now back on tour and album number ten (in just eleven years) has arrived in the shape of Runaway. Heavily influenced by Americana, both stylistically and thematically, he may come to feel that it would have been better not rushing back quite so quickly. He may have found inspiration on the road, but it appears that he lost something else along the way.
Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, took to his home streets of Brighton on a baking Bank Holiday Monday to perform a busking set, as part of a four-day busking tour of the UK. Using the opportunity to promote his Brighton show later in the year at the Dome, 9th September, and to talk up his forthcoming album, Runaway, which is out at the end of August, Rosenberg was in his element. Thousands congregated to witness the Brightonian doing what he does so well; singing and performing, with just a semi-acoustic guitar, and that appealing mix of self-deprecation, humour and heart-on-sleeve passion.
Brighton resident Mike Rosenberg follows up his 2017 album The Boy Who Cried Wolf with his first new music of 2018, ‘Hell or High Water’. As Mike says,. “It’s been a very long time between drinks… I’ve had a few months off which has been amazing and much needed. We’ve also secretly been busy working on a few bits and bobs, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to share it all with you very soon. This song has been knocking around for a while and I’m so, so happy to finally get it out into the world. I’m very proud of this one.”
It may be Kent, but it’s only an hour’s drive or so to get to Eridge Park, the scene of many-a-festival over the years (including the Brighton-based Playgroup Festival), and also home to deer. Hence Black Deer Festival, a new Americana, folk and alt-country type affair that has managed to entice some of the best and biggest names in their respective fields. Such as the wonderfully warm acoustica of Iron & Wine, aka Sam Beam, our very own Passenger (aka Mike Rosenberg), and country music star Jason Isbell.
So, how DOES Mike Rosenberg take on board sudden pop stardom and commercial success? As a man who has constantly tread the boards around the world since 2009, as a troubadour in effect, would the fire still be in his belly? The answer seems to be a decisive yes. Although some of the songs here were written before his sky rocketing fortunes thanks to the 'Let Her Go' phenomenon (number one in 20 countries), others were written more recently and Rosenberg, ever the melancholic soul – who likes to sing about breaking up, messing up and cracking up – remains the consummate fighter, a man who despite the gloom will always see the light.
Looking for a heartening success story in the fickle world of rock and pop? Thinking it’s all about instant impressions and catering for nano-second attention spans in this era of reality, instant success TV? Then look no further than Mike Rosenberg aka Passenger, who after years of patiently chipping away has suddenly seen all that perseverance, talent and passion pay off.