Outspoken social activist and reggae-rock artist Michael Franti will continue spreading his message of unity in the New Year with his backing band Spearhead. The veteran performer kicks off the 20-city winter tour leg on January 28 at The Depot in Salt Lake City, UT, and wraps the run with a March 8 appearance at Langerado Music Festival in Miami, FL.

Along the way, Franti & Spearhead will stop for a January 31 concert at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA, a February 12 session at State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, a February 22 gig at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA, and a February 28 performance at Ram’s Head Tavern in Baltimore, MD. The group’s next engagement is a two-night, year-end celebration on December 30-31 at The Vogue Theatre in Vancouver, BC.

The group is supporting its sixth studio album, “All Rebel Rockers,” which was released in early September. The record peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 4 on the independent album charts, making it the highest placing solo or collaborative effort for Franti, a global peace and social justice activist.

“As a musician and a man, I more than anything else want to be a unifier,” he stated on his Web site. “I want to bring people together through music and its unique power. And I hope that somehow that sense of unity extends beyond the music.”

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Although the musician’s message of peace and goodwill is clear on his most recent records, Franti admits that his initial foray into politically-charged music was more angry than uplifting. The vocalist got his start in the ’80s industrial punk group the Beatnigs before moving on to the early ’90s hip-hop group The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

“When I first started out, I think that my politics could be boiled down to ‘F*** the System’ or ‘F*** the Man,'” Franti explained in a statement. “When you’re coming of age, you’re desperate to change the world, but you have no idea how to actually do it. It takes time to discover that just complaining about the world is not enough. You have to do something affirmative.”

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Michael Franti & Spearhead itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

December 30 – 31 Vancouver, BC The Vogue Theatre
January 4 – 9 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Jam Cruise 7 *
January 28 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
January 30 Ventura, CA The Ventura Theatre
January 31 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
February 7 Oakland, CA Fox Theatre
February 9 Boise, ID The Knitting Factory
February 10 Sun Valley, ID Sun Valley Pavilion
February 12 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
February 13 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room @ Murat Center
February 14 Cincinnati, OH Bogart’s
February 15 Cleveland, OH House of Blues
February 18 Athens, GA The Georgia Theatre
February 19 Knoxville, TN The Valarium
February 20 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theatre
February 21 Charleston, SC Music Farm
February 22 Atlanta, GA The Variety Playhouse
February 26 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
February 27 Richmond, VA The National
February 28 Baltimore, MD Ram’s Head Tavern
March 6 Aspen, CO Belly Up
March 8 Miami, FL Langerado Music Festival

* Michael Franti solo