*RAIN OR SHINE* The Soulshine Tour featuring Michael Franti

Nitefall on the River presents

*RAIN OR SHINE* The Soulshine Tour featuring Michael Franti

SOJA, Brett Dennen, Trevor Hall

Sat, July 12, 2014

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

$40.00 - $45.00

This event is all ages

RAIN OR SHINE

Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Musician, humanitarian, and children's book author, Michael Franti, is recognized as a pioneering force using music as a vehicle for positive change as well as his unforgettable, high energy shows with his band, Spearhead. With the multi-platinum success of his song "Say Hey (I Love You)" and the chart breaking 2010 release of "The Sound Of Sunshine", Franti and his band guarantee a show that will be thought provoking as well as a fun dance party! "Music is sunshine," says Franti, one of the most positive and conscious artists in music today. "Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose." Franti has a brand new single, "I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like)" hitting radio now leading into his brand new album this summer.
SOJA
SOJA
Mention folk music to the average listener and the list of usual suspects come to mind: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Woody Guthrie, etc. Talk to SOJA lead singer/guitarist Jacob Hemphill, however, and you'll walk away with a different perspective. "To me, Rage Against The Machine, Wu-Tang Clan, Sade, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley – they're all folk artists," he says. "There's no difference between Raekwon saying, 'I grew up on the crime side, the New York Times side, where staying alive was no jive,' to Bob Marley saying, 'Cold ground was my bed last night and rock was my pillow, too,' to Johnny Cash saying, 'I know I had it coming, I know I can't be free, but those people keep on moving (around) and that's what tortures me.' Folk is all about storytelling and passing on a legacy. It's timeless, it's limitless and it crosses all boundaries. That's what this band is striving for. It's a tall order," he laughs, "but we're making our way."

They've raised the bar with Strength to Survive, their fourth full-length album, an intoxicating mix of hot-rod reggae grooves and urgent, zeitgeist-capturing themes. The album, produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews, John Mayer, O.A.R.), is the band's first for ATO, the label co-founded by Dave Matthews.

Hemphill says the album was greatly inspired by Bob Marley's Survival. "That's the greatest reggae album ever made," he says. "It has the best basslines and the best lyrics ever heard on one record. Marley wrote it after he went to Africa. I was 13 or 14 when I listened to it for the first time and it triggered all these long-forgotten memories of when I lived in Africa as a kid. My dad was an IMF res rep in Liberia in the late 80's. I remember when the coup first started—- my family had to hide in these iron bathtubs for 3 days because the military was shooting at everything. I was 7 and that was one of my first memories. We made it out on the last flight. So Africa was always a big part of our lives—- it defined our family, in a way. Music came right after that, so, for me, music was always tied to Africa and music was always something powerful."

Shortly after returning from Africa, Hemphill met Bobby Lee (bass) in the first grade in
Virginia. The two instantly became best friends, finding common ground through their love of hip hop, rock and reggae which they performed together at their middle school talent shows. Throughout high school, they met Ryan Berty (drums), Kenneth Brownell (percussion) and Patrick O'Shea (keyboards) and together formed SOJA. The band gigged locally in the DC area while a couple of the guys finished school, all the while making plans to hit the road after graduation. They actually wound up owning the road.

Over the course of the past few years, SOJA has sold more than 200,000 albums, headlined large theaters in more than 20 countries around the world, generated over 40 million YouTube views, amassed nearly 2 million Facebook fans, and attracted an almost Grateful Dead-like international fanbase that grows with each tour, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city. Most impressive of all, they've accomplished all this on their own. This 8-piece band has spent the past year and a half grinding it out from venue to venue, playing more than 360 dates, including headlining sold-out tours of North and South America, as well as opening for O.A.R. and sharing stages with everyone from Dave Matthews Band to Matisyahu.

With Strength to Survive, the band makes an impassioned call for unity and change with universally relatable songs about faith, hope and love. "I could go on and on about the horrible damage we've done to the earth or the problems that arise when countries compete for money over an imaginary border, but the album has one central theme," says Hemphill, "and that's our hope for the world to be one family."

It's a concept best exemplified in the song "Everything Changes." "People out there with no food at night," sings Hemphill, "And we say we care, but we don't, so we all lie/But what if there's more to this, and one day we become what we do, not what we say/Maybe we need to want to fix it. Maybe stop talking, maybe start listening/ Maybe we need to look at this world less like a square and more like a circle."

Among the album's many highlights is the ethereal "Let You Go," about the road not taken, "Mentality," the disc's hard-hitting opening track, and the one-two punch of "Be With Me Now" and "When We Were Younger," the latter bringing together the macro and the micro with the simple yet resonant line, "All of my answers, now that I'm older, turn into questions."

Hemphill says the band's simple and honest approach to music is what's enabled them to break through obstacles of language, distance and culture in amassing an international following. "What's the alternative – pop music?" he laughs. "Pop music—especially American pop music, is about having money, sleeping with models, living in mansions, spending all of our time in clubs and generally being better than the rest of the world. It's funny, 'cuz everyone here is broke. We sing about different things—things that actually matter. I think our fans appreciate that."

"When I look out in the audience and I see these kids with tears in their eyes, not because I'm singing a love song, but because I'm singing about how the world is dying and we're the only ones who can stop it, that is huge. I live for that. We played a festival in Brazil in front of 80,000 people, and everybody was singing every word—in English. After one of the songs, I told them, 'We're on the road a lot, and people always ask me, "Don't you ever get homesick? Don't you miss your family?" I said, 'It took me awhile to realize this, but this is my home, and you all are my family.' The place just blew up. It was amazing. But it's the truth—those are my people and I always want to do right by them. It's is the only game in town for me."
Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen
"It was time to get back to basics." Brett Dennen says of his fifth record, Smoke & Mirrors, out October 22th, 2013. "I wanted to return to the folk and acoustic music I loved when I began writing. I decided to tap into my memories and explore new emotional territory as honestly as I could."

Brett Dennen's music career began humbly around the camps of the Sierra Nevada mountain range–a retreat to which he would eventually return for inspiration on Smoke and Mirrors. "Being in the mountains, aside from the inspiration, was so crucial to me, because as a kid I used to spend so much time in the mountains. And just being there helped me regain that self-confidence. I remembered who I was."

Brett's 2006 release, So Much More, officially launched him as a discovery artist and drew frequent comparisons to troubadours like Paul Simon and Tom Petty. In 2008 his Hope for the Hopeless didn't stray too far from the songwriter's comfort zone, though a partnership with producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) led to a high level of production not yet heard on any of his albums. In 2011, Dennen's Loverboy was his biggest departure to date: a danceable collection of songs influenced by the road and recorded by a studio filled with friends and imperfect takes.

"After several years of consistent recording and touring, some real time off was necessary. I bought a house in the mountains and reconnected with my roots as a songwriter. I walked through the hills, enjoying the solitude, and only wrote when I was inspired."

Returning from his retreat into the mountains, Dennen looked for a collaborator to elevate the songs he'd brought back and landed on renowned producer Charlie Peacock. "Charlie had recently made a beautiful record for The Civil Wars, so he seemed like an ideal producer. We spoke on the phone for just a few minutes and instantly connected. He wanted the recordings to focus on my vocals and acoustic elements. Our goal was to simply enhance the demo and bring them to life."

Dennen and Peacock chose Nashville as a home base, eschewing Brett's L.A. comfort zone to work with virtual strangers. "It was exciting to record with musicians I'd never met. Charlie brought in Mark Hill (Reba McEntire's bass player), Jerry McPherson (guitarist for Faith Hill and Martina McBride), drummer Aaron Sterling who recently worked with Charlie on The Civil Wars record, and Ruby Amanfu (a vocalist in the all-girl Jack White ensemble). Working with new people allows you to explore parts of yourself that might not come out with people you know. You have to stretch a bit, so I let Charlie create an atmosphere that allowed me to be my best self."

Peacock's understated production places Dennen's fervent vocals upfront, while the session players bring their low-key power to the proceedings, adding their own ideas to flesh out the arrangements. Peacock explains, "Brett and I spent a lot of time just building out the arrangements. From the production side, he encouraged me to make every song uniquely its own while keeping it cohesive - and I think we did it."

"Wild Child," the album's lead single, is packed with hooks including a sing-a-long chorus augmented by a bit of George Harrison-style slide guitar. "When We Were Young" has a driving single note rhythm guitar track and a steady backbeat that gives the song a sense of urgency comparable to the work of Don Henley's Building the Perfect Beast. An R&B flavored acoustic guitar hook introduces "Don't Mess With Karma," a topical song about the right to marriage, which condenses the ups-and-downs of a human life into five concise verses interspersed with jazzy electric guitar and Peacock's church organ amplifying its soulful message. "Only Want You" is a love song about going through a rough patch in a relationship; acoustic guitar, subtle mandolin, an almost whispered vocal and a hint of reggae give the tune a gentle lilt. It has a simple message: remember why you're in love and don't get caught up in the things that can distract you from that strong connection.

"Charlie had a master plan and assured me the music would sound good if I just relaxed and became myself. He told me to have faith in the process and let things unfold beautifully, and they did."

"I called the album Smoke and Mirrors, because one of the major themes of the album, lyrically, is that things aren't exactly as they appear to be. If you focus on how you think things should be, then you can't see them for what they really are."
Trevor Hall
Trevor Hall
Trevor Hall is an American singer, lyricist and guitarist. He is most often noted for his song "Other Ways" which was a part of the Shrek the Third soundtrack.

Trevor Hall born on November 28, 1986 is originally from Hilton Head, South Carolina, where he resided until he was 16 years old. His parents, Jeff and Wendy, still reside in South Carolina. He has a younger sister named Chloe. He began writing and performing when he was 14 years old. His introduction to music was from his father's drum kit. His father was not only a drummer but a musician who inspired his son to write and love music as he did. Trevor claims to have always been surrounded and absorbed by music. It was on his 15th or 16th birthday when his father gifted him a recording session in his friend's studio. It was then that he recorded his first album, which was sold mostly to family and friends. After that, Trevor and his family began taking his music more seriously. At the age of 16, Trevor moved to California to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy, in the San Jacinto Mountains east of Los Angeles. He attended this school from grades 10 through 12. While a student at IAA, he studied classical guitar, and met people from all around the world who influenced his life in a profound way.

During his senior year, Trevor signed a record deal with Geffen Records. He continued to focus on his music after graduation, moving to Los Angeles and working with such producers as John Alagia and the Laboriel Brothers. Other than an EP, none of the records that Trevor recorded were released. Geffen dropped him from the label in 2008.

Immediately after his departure from Geffen, Trevor began to write more music. He soon had 14 new songs under his belt along with his good friend/percussionist Chris Steele. They released their new album, "This is Blue" in 2008. Over the years, Trevor Hall has toured with many artists including: Steel Pulse, The Wailers, Matisyahu, Stevie Nicks, Ben Harper, Colbie Caillat, Los Lobos, Ziggy Marley, Rusted Root, and many others. He cites Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Ben Harper and Björk as his main influences.

Trevor has found his inspiration through meditation and his trips to India. He has helped out an Indian school there with donations from his shows.
Venue Information:
Simon Estes Amphitheater
75 E. Locust St.
Des Moines, IA, 50309
http://www.dmgov.org/Departments/Parks/Pages/SimonEstes.aspx