MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD

The Sound Of Sunshine -- the inspired and inspiring new album by Michael Franti & Spearhead -- is a kind of musical sun shower, a bright, beautiful and often buoyant song cycle created to bring all kinds of listeners a sense of hope during rough and rainy times for so many in our world. "Music is sunshine," says Michael Franti, one of the most positive and conscious artists in music today. "Like sunshine, music is a powerful force that can instantly and almost chemically change your entire mood. Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose." "Music is something you can't hold in your hands, smell it, taste it or even see it, yet somehow just coming together and feeling these little vibrations that tickle our eardrums can somehow lift us all up out of our most difficult moments in life to unimaginable heights." Ironically, often joyous and uplifting The Sound Of Sunshine actually came out of a darker and tougher personal experience for Franti. "Last August, my appendix ruptured suddenly in the middle of a tour and I ended up in the hospital for eight days while they figured out what was wrong with me," recalls Franti. "I almost died and I wrote many of these songs coming out of that experience while I was in the hospital for another week or so after that. During that time, I really took a moment to prioritize what's truly important in my life -- and in the end, that's really about the people who I love. Even in that hospital, I could laugh with the people I love, cry with them, and start to find the sun again." Well aware that countless others face far worse problems than he did, Franti wants The Sound Of Sunshine to communicate a sense of hope and possibility for anybody who needs it. Franti's singularly open spirit reflects his own eclectic and intriguing background. Michael was born to an Irish-German-French mother and an African American and American Indian father in Oakland, then adopted by a Finnish American couple who raised him along with their three biological children and another African American son. While studying at the University of San Francisco, Franti formed the punk band The Beatnigs, and later the far more hip hop-inflected The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Through it all, Franti has crossed all sorts of musical and physical boundaries in order to make music for everybody. In the mid-Nineties, Franti first formed Spearhead, and increasingly in recent years, he's found his own voice musically and his own organic brand of popular success. Franti and Spearhead's last album, 2008's All Rebel Rockers -- recorded in Jamaica with legendary producers and players Sly & Robbie – became the biggest hit of Franti's career, hitting the Top 40 on the Billboard 200, and yielded his biggest hit, the Top 20 "Say Hey (I Love You)." "I had a nice, long time to get ready for that first hit, and so I really appreciated it when it happened," says Franti. "So when we were just mastering the new album, I was saying to my manager, "Boy, wouldn't it be fun to have a sophomore hit?" He was like, "Sophomore hit? You've already been through grad school, man" So yes, I've paid some dues, and that's made getting this far -- and still being here -- mean even more to me. The funny thing is that `Say Hey' went into the Top Twenty right as I was being wheeled into surgery. I got the text, and I thought, `Wow, I've finally got a hit record, and I'm not even going to live to enjoy it.' That put everything in perspective too." Michael Franti is not a man to openly chase success – in fact; he's not a man who even wears shoes(for the last ten years). Still, Franti has absolutely no problem hearing his music on the radio now. "When I was a kid, I used to listen to AM radio on family vacations in the car, and at family barbeques and my dad would leave the radio on. So songs that were the silly pop hits became a really meaningful part of my childhood - and of my adult life now. So when I think of the fact that there's some family out there on the beach in the summer together listening to `Say Hey,' it makes me feel really good. The truth is a good pop song that makes you feel good can be something of value and meaning to people." Arguably the most cohesive, romantic and life-affirming album that Franti and Spearhead have ever made, The Sound Of Sunshinereflects the fact that, as Franti puts it, "With time, you get a better sense who you are and how to put together all your musical passions into your own sound. I feel like for a long time, I dabbled in other sounds. Like `Let's do something with a reggae vibe here.' Or `Let's really rock here.' But now, I write everything from the acoustic guitar up -- which keeps you honest. Then Jay Bowman, my songwriting partner and I, take a lot of time figuring out what's the best way to present this song and make every word of it come across and ring true." Even the recording process for The Sound Of Sunshine reflects Franti's desire to communicate directly with his audience. "We started in Jamaica actually recording a bunch of tracks with Sly and Robbie who are, of course, great, and we used some of those tracks. Then we got home and started mixing the record. Then I went to Bali and wrote some more songs, but we still didn't have it finished. So we said let's bring a portable studio on the road with us. We'd literally recorded the drums in the locker room of the Toronto Raptors or in the shower of some NHL team. Then we'd go right onstage and play the song and see how other people would react to it. We'd see what worked and go back and record it again the next day. So these songs have really been road tested in front of live bodies."
For Franti, "To play for people and share your songs with them is to make a real connection. That's why we play outside our shows for those who can't afford to come inside. They need the songs too – maybe more. That's the reality. And as a musician I was on tour with put it recently, "Our fans didn't come to us from a reality show. They came to us from reality." And so, we mean something in their lives. We're the music they put on when they drive their little kids to school, or hang out with the person they love at night. There's no higher honor. So they have an investment in the music. And that means so much because this music is very personal to me too."

Ethan Tucker may only be in his early 20s but the self-starting Olympia, WA-native has already made a name for himself, impressing some of the more respected veteran artists in today's music world. Performing and recording since the age of 16, Tucker has honed his unique blend of acoustic-roots, soul, blues, and reggae, slowly building a dedicated and ever-growing audience, and making friends with some significant musicians in the process.

Tucker's distinct rasp on the bluesy self-releases Lost Between (2010) Take Me To The Mountains (2007) quickly garnered fans, and the singer-guitarist found himself touring regionally from his then-adopted home of Twin Falls, Idaho. With nary a hesitation and exuding a confidence rarely seen at his age, Tucker once famously strapped his acoustic guitar on his back and appeared as an unannounced and uninvited opening act at a 2010 Steve Miller Band concert. The kid with no fear did in fact play to a full house of unsuspecting fans, yet Tucker's provocative performance enraptured Miller's virgin audience. Upon leaving the stage, he was met by the stage manager, the only witness to Tucker's stunt, who quickly informed him, "You know you're not getting paid for this kid….right?"

In the same fashion, Tucker struck up a friendship with kindred spirit Michael Franti at a tour stop in Sun Valley, ID. Wielding his acoustic on his back and making several attempts to engage Franti backstage, Tucker was finally given a shot to impress. Franti and his bandmates in Spearhead erupted upon Tucker's delivery of an early rendition of his song "What They Say" in their dressing room and a new friendship and musical partnership was born on the spot.After forging their bond over a two-year span, Franti invited Ethan to his San Francisco studio in the spring of 2012 to write and record some music. These sessions yielded the backbones of the songs "Cool Kids" and "Crazy Tonight," the latter which features Franti on vocals and guitar set to be included on Tucker's forthcoming, as of yet untitled, EP, due on Capitol Records. Tucker was also invited to open for Socal soulmates Slightly Stoopid on a leg of their Spring 2013 tour after making a strong impression on the prolific touring band at
a series of Pacific Northwest gigs earlier in the year. Tucker impacted the veteran San Diego band as he wowed their crowd with his solo-acoustic performance. Later, members of Slightly Stoopid started to accompany Ethan on his solo sets, bringing some additional viral fervor on current social networks and archive traders. Franti then reached back to invite Tucker to open a run of upcoming summer dates, including astop at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and a week-long run August 10-18, 2013 on Spearhead's forthcoming U.S. trek.

Most recently Tucker was bestowed the highest honor of his young career when Jamaican legend Jimmy Cliff selected him to support his "Many Rivers Crossed" tour, celebrating the 40 Grammy award winning album Rebirth released in 2012. Whether with his full band or simply a troubadour with a guitar, Tucker continues to win over crowds, any size, anywhere. With his recent signing to Capitol Records, the future is an exciting canvas and you can anticipate hearing much more from this true talent in the near future.

SFM - Steve Fulton Music

Steve is an American singer/songwriter from Boise, Idaho who performs under the stage name, SFM-Steve Fulton Music. He has performed all over the country for the last 20 years touring with his band and as a solo artist.
Steve's main passion is his music but also puts a lot of effort into mentoring and helping youth through music. He has been a part of several youth programs through the years including 'Community Youth Connection', Teaching summer music courses at Foothills school and mentoring through internships at his recording studio Audio Lab.

$35.00 - $65.00

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MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD with Ethan Tucker, SFM - Steve Fulton Music

Sunday, October 6 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Revolution Concert House and Event Center