The seed for this album was planted during a one-off show back in 2012. Bazan was invited to play a show in Tacoma WA with the Passenger String Quartet. PSQ leader Andrew Joslyn put together string arrangements for 4 songs and it was an enjoyable evening for all. They immediately began talking about doing it again and eventually started talking about making proper studio recordings of these songs. But it took nearly two years for everyone’s schedules to line up again. In February 2014, they were able to spend a week at Avast! studio in Seattle tracking a collection of 10 songs pulled from Pedro The Lion, Headphones and Bazan solo albums. Long time friend and Bazan collaborator Chris Colbert recorded, mixed and mastered the album. Chris’s no nonsense approach and years of friendship helped focus the effort and they were able to record the entire album in just a few days.
With the release of the album they will be touring all across the USA in October and November playing in clubs, small theaters and cathedrals.
David Bazan was, for many years, the songwriter and driving force behind the acclaimed band Pedro the Lion, building a dedicated following and selling a couple hundred-thousand albums. After a decade helming the project, he found himself embroiled in a major personal philosophical and spiritual cataclysm, wrapped in a growing drinking problem. Bazan got to work exorcizing both his demons and angels, ditching the Pedro moniker in favor of his given name. He’s released the Fewer Moving Parts EP (2006) and two full-length albums, Curse Your Branches (2009), Strange Negotiations (2011) under his own name.
The Passenger String Quartet is an avant-garde, experimental neo-classical group, formed by Northwest composer/violinist Andrew Joslyn. The group is in high demand as studio session musicians, tours & performs original compositions, as well as backs a wide variety of regional, and national touring groups from DJ Spooky, Suzanne Vega, to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Ivan and Alyosha, Kris Orlowski, Doug Martsche, and many more.
“This is the sound of a man on fire. Smart, funny and honestly out of his mind; but he comes back long enough to sing about it. One of the best singer/songwriters I’ve ever heard.”
– Bob Boilen, NPR
“Dondero is this generation’s Townes Van Zandt, a peripatetic tumbleweed casting across the country’s highways and dirt roads searching for truth and love. His reedy tenor shuffles through clever verbal forays, over raga-muffin folk, brightened by Dondero’s road-wizened stoicism”
– Houston Chronicle
“He has a terrific ear and eye for simple detail, for spinning songs out of the mundane just as deftly as standards like love and loss.”
– David Bevan, Pitchfork
“His songs capture places in detail, but also the feeling that life can be about grabbing a hold of the wind (or of a song, as he sometimes phrases it) and seeing where it takes you.”
– Dave Headon, Pop Matters
“Dondero is a brilliant storyteller and poet. His searching melodies and distinctive voice are heartbreakingly beautiful and uplifting.”
– Robin Hilton, NPR
“Dondero writes folk songs that speak to people who don’t think they like folk songs.”
– Justin Berton, East Bay Express
“Ever since going solo and releasing his 1999 album … The Pity Party, David has shown a remarkable ability to capture the heart of America in his songs, which he does with his rambling, poetic narratives, like a modern day Jack Kerouac, and in turn captures the heart of humankind.”
– No Depression