BTR Artist of the Week: Sage Francis

Paul “Sage” Francis, born in Providence, Rhode Island, has carved a musical niche for himself that blends his background as a spoken word artist with his interests in hip-hop and alternative rock. Contra to the bravado and self-promotion often exemplified in traditional hip-hop, Francis’ music offers insightful musings on the human condition. He started his career as a member of the Providence Poetry Slam community, competing in nation poetry slams during the late 90’s into the early 2000’s. His debut album, Personal Journals, covered a rich palette of musical tastes, from gritty street hip-hop to rock to spoken word. Since then he has established himself as a songwriter whose metaphors and wordplay, along with his alternative rock sensibilities, has helped to craft the indie rap genre.

He followed the release of Personal Journals with several creative endeavors, namely two more albums, A Healthy Distrust, Human the Death Dance, performances at the Bowery Poetry club, as well as the continued development of his record label Strange Famous Records in which he has recently added musicians, B. Dolan and Curtis Plum. Francis’ latest musical offering, LI(F)E (Anti- Records 2010) is his most polished album to date. For this LP, he shares songwriting credits with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla on “Three Sheets To The Wind” and “London Bridge”, as well as several other collaborations with Granddaddy frontman Jason Lytle, the members of Calexico, DeVotchKa, and Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. To add to the list of notable collaborations, the album’s cover art features the work of Shepard Fairey, best known for his iconic Barack Obama “HOPE” poster during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Following a statement on the label’s website (anti.com), the title LI(F)E is an amalgamation of life and lie, and as quoted from Francis:

“What about life is a lie? What we’re told about God is a lie. What we’re told about race, gender roles, beauty, war, food, drugs, sexuality, capitalism, history, the nature of humankind…a gang of lies. I feel it in my gut, I think it in my brain, I write it with my hands and I speak it with my mouth. That’s what makes Li(f)e the general theme of this album.”

Currently, Sage Francis is midway through a 31-date tour of the U.S. and Canada alongside label mate, B. Dolan.

Tour Dates:

May 24 — Englewood, CO —  Gothic Theatre
May 25 — Salt Lake City, UT — Urban Lounge
May 26 — Missoula, MT — Badlander
June1 — Seattle, WA — Showbox SoDo
June 2 — Portland, OR — Berbati’s Pan
June 4 — San Francisco, CA — The Fillmore
June 5 — Santa Cruz, CA — The Catalyst
June 6 — Los Angeles, CA — Henry Fonda Theater
June 7 — Solana Beach, CA — Belly Up Tavern
June 9 — Pomona, CA — The Glass House
June 10 — Tempe, AZ — The Clubhouse
June 11 — Tucson, AZ — Club Congress
June 12 — Albuquerque, NM — Sunshine Theater
June 14 — Dallas, TX — Granada Theatre
June 15 — Austin, TX — Mohawk
June 16 — Houston, TX — House of Blues
June 18 — Orlando, FL — Club at Firestone
June 19 — Atlanta, GA — The Loft
June 21 — Carrboro, NC — Cat’s Cradle
June 22 — Washington, DC — Rock and Roll Hotel
June 23 — Baltimore, MD — The Ottobar
June 24 —  Philadelphia, PA — Trocadero
June 25 — New York, NY — Webster Hall

Link to this article:
http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=artist.php?id=280

– Ugonna Igweatu

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