It’s not often that a San Antonio band releases a new CD in Canada before it schedules a local CD-release show, but local pop-rock quartet Passenger found itself in that position last week, as one of 200 bands picked to showcase at NXNE, Toronto’s answer to South By Southwest.

The group decided to get its latest CD, Don’t Bet Your Life on It, manufactured in the Great White North because they’d been warned that they’d get slapped with a hefty customs tax if they tried to bring copies of the disc into Canada from the United States.

“We’ve just been going around town promoting, but also having ourselves a little vacation,” lead guitarist Deric Wynne told S&F the day before Passenger’s weekend gig at a club called the Black Bull.

The group cites Jimmy Eat World and Guided By Voices as primary influences, but their sound more closely suggests a Southern Counting Crows (thanks to Jim Meek’s twangy vocals). Wynne said the new album represents the band’s leap into full-fledged record production, after the mostly homemade 2007 EP You Are Here.

Passenger’s next San Antonio gig is scheduled for July 16 at The Gatsby, on Stone Oak Parkway.

— Gilbert Garcia



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