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Taken from Consequence of Sound (May 29, 2010)

After more than a decade apart, Michael Franti resigns with Capitol

by Harry Painter

Michael FrantiNever underestimate the power of a hit song or a hit album. As any habitual VH1 viewer — or really, anyone breathing — can attest to, Michael Franti has had both of these things with his song “Say Hey (I Love You)” and 2008’s All Rebel Rockers. Before you could say “I love you” 27 times, that song was pretty much everywhere, including your mom’s playlist right in between the John Mayer and Jason Mraz songs.

Next thing you know, Franti is reunited with his former label Capitol/EMI, which he left after his second album with Spearhead back in the 90s (in fact, his split with the label is the reason his band was forced to go by “Michael Franti & Spearhead”). The label has announced his new album The Sound of Sunshine will be released later this summer on the Capitol/Boo Boo Wax label, and singles will be out by the end of May.

Franti may be a bit of an activist, but he is more than happy with all the mainstream exposure he’s had of late. Said Franti in a press release:

The spirit and support that we’ve been receiving on the road has been incredible. Even though we’ve been making music for a long time and many of our fans have been with us for years, the success of All Rebel Rockers and ‘Say Hey (I Love You)’ has allowed even more people to hear the music. Our new fans have become a part of the family and I’m happy to have this new family extend to everyone at EMI.

The feeling is mutual — EMI’s Executive VP of Promotion and Marketing Greg Thompson said, “We are honored to be involved with such a gifted artist whose incredible spirit, coupled with his musical genius, makes him one of the most exciting performers and musicians in the music scene today.”

He and his band Spearhead are known for bringing this excitement to a live setting, which can only be good news, considering they’re currently on tour and will be nonstop until September.

The North American tour’s next stop is in North Carolina’s Smilefest later this evening. Franti and Spearhead will spend the rest of the month in the mid-west. They’ll commence June with a date in Toronto, rounding out the region in six days, and cross the country to New Mexico by the end of June, hitting Bonnaroo along the way. Spearhead is all over the place in July, with dates in Iowa, Kentucky, Wyoming, western Canada, and Franti’s home in the Bay Area. August sees the band mainly in the western portion of the U.S., crossing over to Atlanta on the 26th for another Southeastern stretch.

Franti and Spearhead’s first September gig is a pricey cruise called Sailing Southern Ground, put together and headlined by the Zac Brown Band (I don’t know how supposed hippies can afford these jam cruises). Spearhead has one more gig planned after that, a festival in at the north end of California called EarthDance.


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