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Passenger Jones: Bio

Passenger Jones

Two priests, a teacher, an architect, a web applications designer, and an oil land-man have collectively created the cello-driven roots rock band otherwise known as Jackson, Mississippi's own PASSENGER JONES.

Eight years ago John Bondurant (cello, architect), Taylor Hildebrand (singer/songwriter, guitar, teacher), and Patrick Sanders (singer/songwriter, guitar, Episcopal priest) began the quest many musicians embark upon-to simply make good music. The three spent two summers pooling their influences which range from Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Classical, Hip Hop, Widespread Panic, and the pantheon of singer/songwriters in order to refine themselves as serious and insightful song craftsmen.

After two years of basically living together, Patrick, Taylor, and John sent a demo to Chris Hudson, cousin of Blue Mountain's Cary Hudson, at Black Dog Records in Monticello, MS. Chris happily took the trio under his wing and guided them through recording their first EP, PEOPLE. PEOPLE was a rarity: a concept album with a concept that worked. The narrator, a listless writer named Passenger, observes the lives of those around him. Having little grasp on his own identity, Passenger steals the biographies he gleans and makes them his own through his words. "The character is aptly named," says music critic J. Lawrence Richardson. "Passenger has no drive of his own. He rides on the currents that other create."

Even though PEOPLE was produced at Route 1 Recording Studio (Black Dog's studio), the EP was independently promoted. In fact, the band's entire career to date has been self promoted. With their own money and help from their families, the band members pressed, assembled, and sold around 500 copies of PEOPLE while playing at local Jackson venues, such as Martin's and Hal & Mal's throughout most of 2002.

The following year-and-a-half saw the band grow in all directions. Taylor, Patrick, and John agreed that the sound of PASSENGER JONES needed more depth, so they enlisted bass player and longtime musical colleague Morgan Bondurant (web app. designer/brother to John). The sonic depth solidified the sound and allowed the songwriting to expand, too. Patrick and Taylor began writing songs geared towards a band that was performance-oriented. Maturing past glorified acoustic sets for friends and local fans, PASSENGER JONES grew into a complex electric-roots-rock group creating a textured Southern musical landscape.

Playing shows on regional stages, the distance traveled increased. This, of course, saw an increase in time commitments. While still holding down jobs, the band solidified it's commitment to itself and the cause of spreading their gospel of good music.

Other growth, though, was not as painful. The addition of drummer Dave Hutchison (oil land-man) and keyboardist extraordinaire Walton Jones (priest) saw the next step of the metamorphosis into the band in it's current incarnation.

With the help of their longtime friend and Producer Byron Knight and private investor David Selby, the band began starting it's own record label and production company, Sneaky B records. Recorded in Mississippi Delta Churches, mother's houses, and finally their own Victorian-house-turned studio (shared with 2 other bands), PASSENGER JONES' Float Slowly is their most enlightened, personal, and honest to date.