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Jam Central Station 03.09.13: Michael Franti & Spearhead - Yell Fire!
Posted by Jeff Modzelewski on 03.09.2013

Hey everyone. Hope you're gearing up for a great weekend and maybe some music involved! I'm just happy to be able to chill for a couple of days and take it easy. Anyways, I've been listening to a lot of Franti this week, and I wanted everyone to take a closer look at my favorite Franti album. Hope you enjoy!

.As I've stated countless times in this column, Rothbury 2008 was an eye opening event for me. It gave me a window into a whole slate of amazing musicians that I had simply not been aware of. It completely opened my eyes to a variety of different styles and genres, and to the fact that there was a completely different music scene that didn't seek out the mainstream spotlight but was still exciting and vibrant. It was an introduction to a huge variety of new bands. One of the most influential for me, however, was Michael Franti and Spearhead.

After catching Franti's Rothbury set, I was immediately drawn into the rock/hip-hop/funk fusion that the band brought forward. Coming out of Rothbury, they were one of the first bands that I started to check out. This was just around the time that "Say Hey" was hitting the radio, although it wasn't the smash success that it eventually became. I got pretty much all of Franti's music, but the two albums that really drew my attention were his most recent two at the time, All Rebel Rockers and Yell Fire! The music, energy, and message all appealed to me. While I continue to go back through his catalog on a regular basis, these are the two albums I still spend the most time on. Since Franti is becoming known more and more as an adult contemporary radio artist, I wanted to take a look at his "transition" album, Yell Fire!

The album is very solid front to back, with no real filler tracks. The first three tracks truly set the tone. "Time To Go Home" is an immediate call to simplicity, love, respect, and unity. While it starts out with an anti-war sentiment, it ends up going well beyond that, looking to lift the veil of government secrecy. The title track follows, and it loses all of the subtlety of the opener. The message and lyrics are just as relevant today as they were in 2007, with lines like "Wall Street crime will never send you to the slammer" and "TV commercials for a popper pill culture/ Drug companies circling like a vulture." Musically, the song is a great guitar rock song that has huge energy both on the album and in concert. The third track, "I Know I'm Not Alone" brings out the hopeful side of the album. It's a more personal and introspective song, mourning the negativity of the world while holding on to hope in relationships with others.

Two of the next three songs focus more on worldwide unity and peace. "East To The West" and "Hello Bonjour" both focus on the shared hopes and humanity that is shared despite cultural and religious differences. Both are fun, upbeat songs, and "Hello Bonjour" is a great track to dance to. Other songs like "Sweet Little Lies" and "One Step Closer" are more personal accounts of doubt, despair, fear, and overcoming those emotions. Along with both personal and political messages, however, Spearhead is also a party band, and both "Hey Now Now" and "Everybody Ona Move" prove that point unequivocally.

"Light Up Ya Lighter" goes back to the overtly political and anti-war message of "Yell Fire" and "Time To Go Home." Franti does a great job of making his point in a variety of ways and using different musical styles, with this one focusing on Franti's love of mixing rock and reggae. The three closing songs are all more quiet songs, again moving towards themes of unity and Franti's own personal struggles. My personal favorite of the three is the closer, where Franti keeps asking "Is your love enough, or can you love some more." Despite some of the anger that is present on some of this album, "Is Love Enough?" brings things back to the basics of his philosophy. If each of us can just show a little more love, open up a little bit more, we can all make a difference in the world.

When I'm having a bad day or feeling depressed, Franti is the one artist I gravitate towards more than any other. He's shown a keen political sense, he is strongly idealistic, he knows what he's talking about, and he writes infectious music. Despite his righteous anger he also maintains a positive overall outlook, and he practices what he preaches. While his newest album has moved more to the pop and away from the political statements, his older albums hold a lot of great and inspiring themes. And, unlike many other artists, he fits his message into some pretty awesome and diverse music. For me, Franti is always worth another listen.

Forecastle Festival!
The Forecastle Festival announced their 2013 lineup, and it's impressive. The event will be held in Louisville, KY from July 12-14 and will be headlined by The Black Keys, The String Cheese Incident, and The Avett Brothers. SCI will in fact play three separate shows at the festival: a standard festival show (likely 2 sets), a late-night separately ticketed show at The Palace Theater, and a third set being billed as "The Forecastle Incident." Along with the headliners, the festival will include The Flaming Lips, The Alabama Shakes, Jim James, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Animal Collective, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dawes, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others. This is a city festival, so you need a hotel, a campsite (a few miles away), or a friend in the city.

Hangout adds artists
Hangout added their final additions this week. The festival will add headliner Stevie Wonder along with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Big Gigantic, imagine Dragons, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The festival already includes Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Trey Anastasio Band, Bassnectar, The Black crowes, The Roots, Passion Pit, gov't Mule, moe., and many others.

String Cheese Incident Tour announced
The String Cheese Incident announced a short run of dates this summer. They'll mainly be hitting festivals and will also play a couple of their usual stomping grounds as well as a run in Austin TX. They are also working on a new album.

June 28 Telluride, CO—Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 28-30 Rothbury, MI—Electric Forest
July 4-6 Austin, TX—The Backyard
July 12 Louisville, KY—The Forecastle Festival
July 13 Louisville, KY—Palace Theater
July 14 Louisville, KY—The Forecastle Festival
July 26-27 Morrison, CO—Red Rocks Amphitheatre
August 2-4 North Plains, OR—Horning's Hideout

Jam in the Sand
March 1-5, 2013
Breezes Grand Resort
Negril, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra's first Jamaican event. This event will feature multiple DSO shows as well as three Keller Williams sets and other activities

Buku Music Project
March 8-9, 2013
Mardi Gras World Warehouse
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Kid Cudi, Calvin Harris, Primus, Passion Pit, STS9, Zedd, Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Datsik, Lettuce, and many others

SnowBall Music Festival
March 8-10, 2012
Winter Park, CO
Performers include:Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Portugal. The Man, Rubblebucket, and many others.

Suwannee Springfest
March 21-24, 2013
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Peter Rowan, Keller and the Keels, Jerry Douglas, Cornmeal, Leftover Salmon, Donna the Buffalo, The Travelin' McCoury's, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Ultra Music Festival
March 15-17, 2013
March 22-24, 2013
Miami, FL
Performers include: Tiesto, David Guetta, Above & Beyond, Bassnectar, Fatboy Slim, Richie Hawtin, Crystal Castles, deadmau5, Major Lazer, Thievery Corporation, and many others.

March 21-24, 2012
Killington Resort
Killington, VT

April 12-14, 2013
April 19-21, 2013
Performers include: Stone Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blur, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bassnectar, xx, Modest Mouse, Lou Reed, Postal Service, Grizzley Bear, Wu-Tang Clan, Lumineers, and many others.

Wanee Festival
April 18-20, 2013
Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park
Live Oaks, FL
Performers include: Allman Brothers Band, Widespread Panic, Gov't Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, and many others.

April 25-28, 2013
Wilkes Community College
Wilkisboro, NC
Performers include: The Avett Brothers, Gov't Mule, Jerry Douglas, Steep Canyon Rangers, Donna the Buffalo, Sam bush, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many others.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 26-May 5, 2013
New Orleans, LA
Performers include: Dave Matthews Band, Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Widespread Panic, B.B. King, The Black Keys, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, Maroon 5, and a very diverse lineup of many other artists.

Shaky Knees Music Festival
May 4-5, 2013
Atlanta, GA
Performers include: The Lumineers, Band of Horses, Drive By Truckers, Jim James Band, Gary Clark Jr., Dr. Dog, and many others

BottleRock Festival
May 10-12, 2013
Expo Grounds
Napa Valley, CA
Performers include: Furthur, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Cake, Alabama Shakes, The Black Crowes, Ben Harper, Rodrigo y Gabriela, and many others.

Hangout Music Festival
May 17-19, 2013
Gulf Shores, AL
Performers include: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Stevie Wonder, Kings of Leon, Trey Anastasio Band, Bassnectar, The Black Crowes, Big Gigantic, moe., Passion Pit, Imagine Dragons, and many others.

Summer Camp Music Festival
May 23-36
Three Sisters Park
Chillicothe, IL
Performers include: moe., Umphrey's McGee, Trey Anastasio Band, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Thievery Corp., Big Gigantic, Lettuce, Cornmeal, Keller Williams, and many others.

May 23-26, 2013
Cumberland, MD
Performers include: The Del McCoury Band, Trey Anastasio Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, Trampled by Turtles, The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

Dark Star Jubilee
May 24-26, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: 3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Mickey Hart Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Wailers, The Werks, Greensky Bluegrass, Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Elephant Revival, and many others.

The Ville
May 24-26, 2013
Clay's Park Resort
North Lawrence, OH
Performers include: 2 nights of ekoostik hookah, Rusted Root, Col. Bruce Hampton, The Congress, Fletcher's Grove, Dragon Wagon, and many others

Sasquatch! Music Festival
May 24-27, 2013
The Gorge
George, WA
Performers include: Mumford and Sons, The Postal Service, Sigur Ros, Vampire Weekend, Primus, The Lumineers, The xx, Cake, Arctic Monkeys, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and many others

May 30-June 2, 2013
Mulberry Mountain
Ozark, AR
Performers include: Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, The Black Crowes, Umphrey's McGee, Dispatch, Shpongle, Snoop Lion, Gogol Bordello, Zed's Dead, Rebolution, and many others.

Mountain Jam
June 6-9, 2013
Hunter Mountain, NY
Performers include: Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov't Mule, Widespread Panic, Primus, The Avett Brothers, Dispatch, The Lumineers, Gary Clark Jr., Soulive, ALO, and many others.

Governors Ball Music Festival
June 7-9, 2013
Randall's Island
New York City, NY
Performers include: Guns and Roses, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, The Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Thivery Corp., Gary Clark Jr., and many others

Camp Railroad
June 10-14, 2012
Full Moon resort
Big Indian, NY
This 4-day music camp will feature members of Railroad Earth in an assortment of workshops, performances, discussions and other sessions to help aspiring musicians and those interested in the music industry to gain an insight into the inner workings of the band. A variety of accommodations are available, and musicians of all skill levels are accepted.

June 13-16
Manchester, TN
Performers include: Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Bjork, Wilco, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Passion Pit, Of Mosters and Men, ZZ Top, and many more.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 20-23, 2013
Telluride, Colorado
Performers include: Mumford & Sons, The String Cheese Incident, Dispatch, Greensky Bluegrass, Sam Bush Band, Jackson Brown, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas Band, Punch Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, and many others.

Firefly Music Festival
June 21-23, 2013
The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway
Dover, DE
Performers include: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Avett Brothers, dispatch, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, and many others.

Solid Sound Festival
June 21-23, 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art
North Adams, MA
Hosted by Wilco. Other performers include: Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Neko Case, White Denim, and many others.

Electric Forest Festival
June 27-30, 2013
Double JJ Ranch and Resort
Rothbury, MI
Performers include: String Cheese Incident (3 nights), Pretty Lights, Lotus, Passion Pit, Dispatch, Beats Antique, Railroad Earth, Trombone Shorty, Digital Tape Machine, Jeff Austin & Friends, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others

High Sierra Music Festival
July 4-7, 2013
Quincy, CA

Jambase Live
July 5-6
The Gorge
George, WA

Camp Bisco
July 11-13, 2013
Indian Lookout Country Club
Mariaville, NY

Forecastle Festival
July 12-14, 2013
Louiseville, KY
Performers include: The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, The String Cheese Incident, The Avett Brothers, The Alabama Shakes, Jim James, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Animal Collective, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dawes, Greensky Bluegrass, and many others.

All Good Music Festival
July 18-21, 2013
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
Performers include: Furthur, Pretty Lights, Primus, STS9, Grace Potter 7 The Nocturnals, The Infamous Stringdusters, and many more.

Northwest String Summit
July 18-21, 2013
Horning's Hideout
North Plains, OR
Performers include: Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Keller Williams & Friends, and many others.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 19-21, 2013
Union Park
Chicago, IL

Floyd Fest
July 25-28, 2013
Floyd, VA
Performers include: The Lumineers, John Butler Trio, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Trampled by Turtles, Blitzen Trapper, and many others.

Gathering of the Vibes
July 25-28, 2013
Seaside Park
Bridgeport, CT

Newport Folk Festival
July 27-28, 2013
Newport, RI
Performers include: The Lumineers, Andrew Bird, Shovels & Rope, and many others

Newport Jazz Festival
August 2-4, 2013
Newport, RI

August 9-11, 2013
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY

Outside Lands
August 9-11, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

The Peach Music Festival
August 15-18, 2013
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
Performers include: The Allman Brothers Band, Bob Weir & Rat Dog, The Black Crowes, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Railroad Earth, Galactic, and many others.

Camp Barefoot
August 22-24, 2013
Bartow, WV
Performers include: Kyle Hollingsworth Band, EOTO, Keller Williams, Team Leaf Green, Zoogma, Conspirator, Break Science, The Motet, and many others.

Catskill Chill
September 6-8, 2013
Camp Minglewood
Hancock, NY

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
October 4-6, 2013
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA

Austin City Limits
October 4-6, 2013
October 11-13, 2013

As always, please feel check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements and festival additions. Until next week, Jam On!


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