The new album Li(f)e by hip hop iconoclast Sage Francis is an impassioned and timely critique of cultural hypocrisy and organized religion. The record’s cover art has been created by renowned artist and illustrator Shepard Fairey who first gained notoriety with his “André the Giant” street art and later with his iconic Obama “Hope” poster. For the cover of Li(f)e Fairey has employed his distinctive agitprop style to create a suitably provocative image of an unwavering and winged Francis caught in the crosshairs as flames rise beneath him.
“I really wanted to get a Shepard Fairey album cover sometime in my career,” Francis explains. “I eventually sent him a picture of me which was taken at my most destitute time when I didn’t have anything and I was crashing on my friend’s floor. I was making music but I had to obscure the way I looked because it didn’t fit in with the way people thought hip-hop was supposed to be. But eventually I just took this really ugly photo of myself in all my mutton chop biker mustache whiteness and made it my logo. And Shepard used that old photograph to make this amazing image for the album’s cover.”
Musically Li(f)e is refreshingly unique. Francis’ biting and sardonic wordplay now further empowered by talented musicians including producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron and Wine) and Jim Becker and Tim Rutili of acclaimed Chicago outfit Califone. Francis has also enlisted a roster of uniquely talented songwriters including ex Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle, Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie, Tim Fite, members of Calexico, DeVotchKa, and Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse – each of whose compositions were then interpreted by Francis and the band. The result is a challenging and defiantly honest new album from an ever evolving artist.
Sage Francis will be performing songs from Li(f)e at the upcoming South By Southwest Festival on Tuesday March 18 at The Independent, 501 Studios, 501 Brushy Street at 12:30 am.
Francis will then be embarking on a North American tour beginning with B. Dolan and Free Moral Agents starting this May.
Sage Francis Tour Dates:
SXSW @ The Independent on Thursday, March 18 at 12:30 a.m.
05/12/10 Cambridge, MA Middle East Downstairs 480 Massachusetts Ave
05/13/10 S. Burlington, VT. Higher Ground 1214 Williston Rd
05/14/10 Portland, ME. Port City Music Hall 504 Congress St
05/15/10 Ottawa, ON. Ritual Nightclub 137 Besserer Street
05/16/10 Toronto ONT The Opera House 735 Queen St. East
05/18/10 Detroit, MI. Alvin’s 5756 Cass Ave.
05/19/10 Detroit, MI. The Bottom Lounge 1375 W Lake St
05/20/10 Milwaukee, WI. Turner Hall 1032 North Fourth St.
05/21/10 Minneapolis MN First Avenue, 701 First Avenue North
05/22/10 Columbia MO, The Blue Note 17 North Ninth Street
05/24/10 Englewood, CO. Gothic Theatre 3263 South Broadway
05/25/10 Salt Lake City, UT. Urban Lounge 241 South 500 East
05/26/10 Missoula MT. Badlander 208 Ryman St
05/28/10 Edmonton, AB. The Starlite Room 10030 102 Street NW
05/29/10 Calgary, AB. Distillery 615 7 Ave
05/31/10 Vancouver, BC. The Biltmore Cabaret, 2755 Prince Edward St.
06/01/10 Seattle WA, Showbox SoDo 1700 1st Ave.
06/02/10 Portland, OR. Berbati’s Pan 231 SW Ankeny
06/04/10 San Francisco CA, The Fillmore 1805 Geary Blvd.
06/05/10 Santa Cruz, CA. The Catalyst 1011 Pacific Avenue
06/06/10 Los Angeles CA, Henry Fonda Theater 6126 Hollywood Blvd.
06/07/10 Solana Beach, CA. Belly Up Tavern 143 S. Cedros Ave.
06/09/10 Pomona, CA. The Glass House 200 West Second Street
06/10/10 Tempe, AZ. The Clubhouse 1320 E. Broadway Rd.
06/11/10 Tucson AZ, Club Congress 311 East Congress
06/12/10 Albuquerque NM Sunshine Theater 120 Central Ave. SW
06/14/10 TX, .DALLAS Granada Theatre 3524 Greenville Avenue
06/15/10 Austin TX, Mohawk, 912 Red River
06/16/10 Houston TX House of Blues – Houston 1204 Caroline Street
06/18/10 Orlando FL Club at Firestone 578 North Orange Ave.
06/19/10 Atlanta, GA. The Loft 1374 W. Peachtree
06/21/10 Carrboro , NC. Cat’s Cradle 300 East Main Street
06/22/10 Washington DC Rock and Roll Hotel 1353 H St. NE
06/23/10 Baltimore MD, The Ottobar, 2549 North Howard St.
06/24/10 Philadelphia, PA. Trocadero, 1003 Arch Street
06/25/10 New York NY. Webster Hall, 125 East 11th St.