Pop-rock powerhouse - Train - has reemerged from years of decline with their hit single "Hey, Soul Sister" and are on tour. The single has sold five million digital copies and has made Train's comeback nothing short of monumental. The Grammy Award winners are currently on tour with Maroon 5 throughout 2011. Don't miss a date on the Train concert schedule 2011; Use Eventful as your source for Train tour dates and concert information.
After bouncing around several cover bands, front-man Patrick Monahan packed his bags and headed from Erie, Pennsylvania to the Golden State. He met and teamed up with Rob Hotchkiss in San Francisco and soon recruited guitarist Jimmy Stafford, bassist Charlie Colin, and drummer Scott Underwood to form Train. Their initial efforts to secure a recording contract proved difficult and they were forced to self-produce and independently release their debut effort in 1996. Remarkably, without a contract, Train tour dates were booked on the opening stage for Barenaked Ladies, Hootie & The Blowfish, and the Counting Crows on their respective tours. Their self-titled debut featured the hit single "Meet Virginia" which peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and secured Platinum status for the album.
Train was soon picked up by Columbia and headed to the studio to record the follow-up to their independent debut. The single and album - Drops of Jupiter - blew sales of their debut album out of the water. The single spent over a year on the charts, garnered Train a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, and the album obtained double-Platinum status and remains their highest selling album to-date. Train tour dates were booked on the Drops of Jupiter Tour and they recorded a live DVD at their tour stop in San Francisco at the Warfield.
In 2003, Train returned with their third disc, My Private Nation, which featured the hit single "Calling All Angels". It became their third Platinum album and was nominated for two awards at the 2004 Grammy ceremonies. Train tour dates were scheduled on the international My Private Nation Tour. They recorded Alive at Last at tour stops in Atlanta and released it in 2004. Train then released the tepidly received For Me, It's You album in 2005. It debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 but quickly fell off the charts; Train subsequently went on hiatus and fell from public memory.
They returned in 2009 with "Hey, Soul Sister", the biggest single of their career and the biggest single of 2010 with five million digital copies sold in the US alone. The album, Save Me San Francisco, also featured the hit "Marry Me" and was certified Gold in the US. Train was awarded their third Grammy in 2011 for "Hey, Soul Sister" and scheduled their first co-headlining tour in over five years. Train tour dates will have the band traveling with Maroon 5 throughout 2011. In addition, Train concert performances are scheduled alongside Shakira for her South American international tour. Train surprised us with their return to the mainstream in 2009 and we are sure glad they did. Don't miss them when they come to your area. Use Eventful for Train tour dates and concert tour information.
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 Sunshine reflects 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.”
With one of the most recognizable voices of our time, combined with blue eyed soul vocals, freewheeling melodies and earthy charm; singer, songwriter, and musician Gavin DeGraw, has enjoyed success since breaking through in 2003 with his debut album, Chariot, which sold over a million copies, earned platinum certification, and yielded three hit singles: “I Don’t Want To Be,” “Follow Through,” and the title-track, “Chariot.” He followed that up with his self-titled second album, which debuted at No. 1 on the digital sales chart and at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart in 2008 (earning Gavin his first Top 10 album and spawning the hit singles “In Love With A Girl” and the gold-certified “We Belong Together.” After releasing 2009’s Free, a gift to die-hard fans clamoring for recorded versions of his live favorites, Gavin decided it was time to shake things up. “Not only do I love a challenge, but I also wanted something new to sing,” Gavin explains. “I’ve listened to my favorite songs 5,000 times, and I love them, but sometimes it’s hard to go home and put on that album and listen to it for the five thousand and first time. I needed to write something I found interesting both melodically and rhythmically and that meant stepping outside my wheelhouse.”
On Gavin’s new album SWEETER, the New York native experimented with new sounds, thanks, in part, to collaborating with a host of top-notch producers he’d wanted to work with for a while, including fellow groove-minded piano player OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder (Beyoncé, Adele), Butch Walker (Weezer, Avril Lavigne), Eric Rosse (Sara Bareilles, Tori Amos), and Ron Aniello (Barenaked Ladies, Matt Nathanson). “The creation of every song began with an interview to select the right producer,” Gavin says. “It was like speed-dating. I’d play them the songs I was working on and ask which ones they liked the best, and then ask them to produce those they were most passionate about.”
Gavin took another departure from his usual way of working, enlisting co-writers for the first time, such as Tedder, who co-wrote and produced the album’s vigorous hit single “Not Over You” (about the struggle to let go of an old flame) and its title track “Sweeter,” as well as Andrew Frampton, who has worked with The Script and Natasha Bedingfield. “Co-writing with other people changed everything for me,” Gavin says. “Not only did it open my mind to new ideas, but it changed the way I wrote on my own. Playing all these different styles with other musicians led me to think about things differently when I was working by myself. I was able to tap into things I do live, dabbling with some of that late ’60s, early ’70s R&B stuff, and record all the styles of music that I like and put them on one album. It was great to take the leash off and experiment. Although it doesn’t stray too far from what I’ve done, I think SWEETER is the first album I’ve made that has caught my true sound, and that was the result of taking risks.”
Recorded in several locations, including Tedder’s studio in Denver, Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Walker’s space in Venice, CA (where Bob Dylan recorded some tracks in the ’70s), and the legendary Henson Recording Studios in Hollywood, SWEETER finds Gavin in a provocative mood, which infuses several songs with a potent, swaggering strut on sexually charged songs like “Sweeter” (on which he sings about wanting to hook up with another guy’s girl) and one of his favorite tracks, “Radiation” (about knowing a lover is bad for you, but every now and then, you can’t resist making that late-night call). “Those songs are designed to be fun while also being truthful. I think a lot of people can relate to the lyric, ‘If you get an invitation, I’m probably drunk,’” Gavin says with a laugh.
“This is the first album I’ve made where I felt ready to explore the more sexual side of my nature in my music,” he continues. “It’s not only about my feelings of being in love, although I do tap into those elements on this album on songs like ‘Soldier’ and ‘You Know Where I’m At.’ This is the funkiest, sultriest record I’ve ever made. It satisfied a lot of things for me that I wanted to have satisfied musically.”
SWEETER’s racier moments are balanced out by more emotionally transparent moments, like “Run Every Time,” which addresses a reluctance to commit to a relationship, as well as romantic, uplifting songs like “Soldier” and “You Know Where I’m At,” which convey a vulnerability while still managing to feel distinctly masculine. “The question for me became, ‘How do you expose your vulnerability without seeming like somebody who gets kicked around, and, at the same time, describe your ability to get past something without sounding cocky,” Gavin says. “That’s always tricky, because you know you’re being judged on the lyrics and they’re all very personal.”
That willingness to explore what’s meaningful to him and express it in a universal way is what has made Gavin a compelling artist, one who connects with listeners not only through his recordings, but also through his live appearances. Gavin has toured the globe, performing sold-out headlining shows as well as festivals with a variety of artists. Around the release of SWEETER, Gavin hit the road with TRAIN and Maroon 5 for an extensive North American tour, playing these new songs for fans for the very first time. “I want to take people from the beginning to the end of their emotions, for however long they’re with me,” he says. “I want to woo people. I do. I want both women and men to love it, because I feel this album satisfies in a masculine way while still having a feminine touch.”