Wolf Trap presents the jazz and funk bands for a great triple bill
Michael Franti has long been known for delivering high-energy live shows and offering plenty of optimism through both his music and efforts outside of the concert stage. For instance, the musician founded “Do It For The Love,” a wish-granting non-profit that helps bring people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges and wounded veterans to live concerts to experience the healing power of music.
The artist behind hits such as “Say Hey (I Love You)” “I’m Alive,” “I’ll Be Waiting” and “The Sound of Sunshine,” Michael Franti and Spearhead Trio’s album, “Stay Human Vol. II,” a mix of hip hop, jazz, reggae and folk, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2019 and received plenty of critical acclaim.
This month, Franti and his band have a new single out, “Good Day For A Good Day,” which is garnering just as much positive attention.
On Aug. 24, Michael Franti & Spearhead will perform with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and the Rebirth Brass Band at Wolf Trap, for a night of unforgettable funky jazz.
“I’ve played at Wolf Trap twice, and it’s a storied venue so I’m very excited to be back,” Franti said, noting his previous dates were with the Indigo Girls and The Dave Matthews Band. “The last time I was there, I remember running out to the grass section in the rain, because a lot of people were there and I wanted to be close to the fans. It ended up being something of a mudslide on the hill, which was fun.”
This time around, Franti expects just as much fun—though he’s hoping the weather cooperates a bit more.
“At this point in time, there’s no one that doesn’t need that live music experience and the sense of community that happens at a concert,” he said. “That’s what our shows are all about—bringing people from different walks of life together to experience the joy. All the bands on the bill are bands that really tap into that energy of finding the joy even in the midst of the crazy times that we’re living in.”
During the pandemic, Franti spent most of his time in Bali. He opened a yoga-themed hotel there in 2010 and decided it would be a great place to hole up when he had to stop touring. He and his wife renovated the space and built it up to become the place he always dreamed of.
While there, he spent a lot of time writing new songs and concentrating on music.
“I made a decision early on with my wife, and we had optimism shining in our hearts during this time, and so I decided that I was going to rehearse almost every day and then I was going to train and get in better shape,” Franti said. “I just committed myself to practicing my guitar, being in the studio writing music, making music videos and just rehearsing, so I don’t feel like I ever really stopped making music.”
Although he wasn’t with his band for most of it, he sent them the new stuff and they worked on the tunes by themselves, and eventually got together this past June to rehearse them all before heading out on tour.
“We are ready to rock,” he said. “The first new song, ‘Good Day For A Good Day,’ is about the fact that there’s been so many stressful days but there’s been a lot of positive things and silver linings people found, like for me, it was being with my son and to be in nature.”
But Franti also lost his dad during the pandemic due to COVID, so his lyrics stress how today would be a good day to have a good day, after so many rough days the world has experienced.
“When we look out into the world, and see the division taking place in our country and around the planet and all the things that we see that are in crisis, we still need to just every now and then be able to go and have a good day,” he said. “I have about 10 songs ready to go so we should be having a new album out come January.”
And whether you enjoy his music, that of Trombone Shorty or the Rebirth Brass Band, Franti encourages everyone to come out and have a good time.