Songs from the Front Porch: An Acoustic Collection
Much different than his previous endeavors with Spearhead, Songs from the Front Porch takes Michael Franti and puts him in an acoustic setting with a stronger emphasis on songwriting/storytelling, singing, and performance. Songwriting skills that show traces of Ben Harper and Terry Callier along with a vocal delivery on par with those two are fairly obvious from the get-go. The manner in which Songs was recorded gives the record an immediate sense of intimacy, almost as if you're on the front porch of his brownstone and he's playing the songs directly to you for the first time. Songs retains the intelligent lyrics of his earlier efforts with Spearhead, and nowhere is this more evident than on "Oh My God," an iron-hot discourse on the state of the union, circa 2003. At 40 minutes, there's no unnecessary filler, and while the album has a tendency to become a bit preachy at times, it's refreshing to see Franti's versatility outside of the hip-hop arena.