Award-winning British singer-songwriter Passenger looks to spread hope and comfort as he supports those in need with the surprise release of his latest album, the lockdown-written Patchwork, writes Nick Benson.
Throughout lockdown the phrase ‘future plans’ became meaningless in a sense, as we all saw our plans go up in smoke.
This left some people with a lot of time on their hands, which they filled with odd jobs, TV shows or took it as an opportunity to explore a new hobby.
However, for Mike Rosenberg it meant turning to his source of hope and comfort – music.
Those who don’t recognise the name Mike Rosenberg will perhaps know him better by his pseudonym, global chart-topping musician Passenger.
Previously the main vocalist and songwriter of British folk band Passenger, Rosenberg opted to keep the band’s name for his solo work after the band dissolved in 2009.
Best known for his warm and heartfelt ballad Let Her Go, which reached number two in the UK charts and number one in numerous countries, Passenger won an Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed Work and received a Brit Award nomination for British Single of the Year in 2014, both for Let Her Go.
The Brighton-born musician recently revealed exactly what he’d been up to in lockdown, as he surprise-released his 12th studio album, Patchwork.
In a message posted on his website, Passenger admitted he was ‘really proud of this one’.
Citing his cover of Lewis Capaldi’s popular UK number one hit single Someone You Loved, which features on the new album, he revealed: ‘I wrote almost all of it during lockdown (other than the Lewis Capaldi cover…I really wish that was my song) so I feel the whole album comes from an extremely honest and vulnerable place.
‘It was a strange and lonely feeling to suddenly be on my own for weeks on end and writing these songs became a massive source of hope and comfort to me during that time. I hope they go on to give others those same feelings,’ he added.
As well as the aforementioned Capaldi cover, which is obviously a major highlight, the eight-track album, which runs at just under 26 minutes in total, contains the charming title track, Patchwork, in which Passenger seems to explore a relationship where two people go their own way and get on with life, before their lives cross once again and they “weave another square” of their patchwork quilt.
The album contains mostly airy, cheerful sounding tracks, which jars with the subject matter of these tracks, which tend to focus on Passenger’s thoughts amid the Covid-19 lockdown, a time many people found impacted on their mental health.
In Swimming Upstream, the singer explains that he feels like he “should stay in bed to stop the virus spread” but finds himself unable to sleep, as “Some nights I just lay and stare at the ceiling”.
These feelings also feature across the album, with Passenger acknowledging the “heartbreak and sorrow” in Venice Canals, while expressing hope that “We’ll be closer tomorrow to the end of all this/Than we are today”.
The track also hears the musician suggest: “So watch the sunrise from your window/Hear the rainfall on the ground/Tell your loved ones that you love them/And miss the ones that aren’t around.”
Then, in Sword from the Stone (Patchwork Version), Passenger provides an even further insight into his unstable feelings amid lockdown.
“‘Cause I’m fine and then I’m not/I’m spinning ‘round and I can’t stop/I can’t do this alone/For time flies then it’s so slow/I’m up and down like a yoyo/I can’t do it on my own/And I’ve tried and I can’t pull the sword from the stone,” he sings in his recognisable dulcet tone.
The album, which is dedicated to Passenger’s new baby niece, Sky, is bound to be a ray of light for music fans at these troubling times. However, it is also going to bring some essential support to those in need during this great time of uncertainty and anxiety, as the musician revealed he is donating the proceeds to support food bank charity the Trussell Trust.
‘I’m delighted to say that every penny made from this album will be donated to a UK based food bank charity called the Trussell Trust who do incredible and increasingly necessary work in getting food to people who need it. You can read more about them here – trusselltrust.org,’ he wrote.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said they are “grateful” for his support.
“Food banks have seen a huge surge in need as the impact of coronavirus hits people’s incomes – more and more people are struggling to cover the cost of essentials,” she said.
“This donation from Passenger will help us continue supporting food banks to get emergency help to people safely, while we work towards a future where everyone has enough essentials.”
While no CDs or vinyls have been pressed for the album, meaning there are no physical copies available, music fans can stream it from all the usual streaming services and it can also be downloaded for £5 from Passenger’s website, with an option to make an extra charitable donation.
• Patchwork by Passenger is available now digitally across streaming platforms on Black Crow Records.
• To buy a digital download of the album, see: https://passengermusic.com