Local duo Park88 will play Access Film Music Showcase and ASCAP Music Cafe at Sundance next week
It’s been a busy few months for local husband and wife duo Park88.
Last summer, pianist-singer Rich Wyman and singer Lisa Needham filmed videos for their songs “Soul Like a Flower” and “The Fearlessness,” and toured with the Gypsy Kings.
Next week, Park88 will perform Tuesday night at the Access Film Music Showcase at the Spur Bar and Grill, and wrap up the week on Friday playing the ASCAP Music Cafe as part of the Sundance Film Festival.
The Access gig will also feature country singer Alice Wallace.
Access Showcase curator and producer Michael “Chicago Mike” Beck, a longtime friend of Wyman and Needham, set aside a three-hour spot for Park88 to play.
“We had been working with a consultant and agent, Jonathan McCue, whose wife signed Alice to a record company, so we asked if Alice would be interested in playing at Access,” Wyman said.
It so happened that Beck had heard Wallace before Wyman approached the organizer about her.
“It was crazy because I wanted her play Access, and then Rich told me about her,” Beck laughed.
In addition to Wallace and Park88, the night will feature singer-songwriter Priscilla Renea, who has written songs for the likes of Madonna, Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson.
Wallace will open the show at 9:30 p.m., Renea, who is also scheduled to play the ASCAP Music Cafe Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, will play at 10:30 p.m. and Park88 will go on at 11 p.m.
Park88 will also showcase their band whose members come from far outside of Utah, Wyman said.
Drummer Eric Munoz is from Puerto Rico, and percussionist Ricardo Romeo is from Mexico. The bassist, Rehan Jacob, is from Pakistan.
“I had the idea of putting the band together without guitar,” said Wyman, who has worked with Edward Van Halen. “This way Lisa and I really are in the forefront, and I really wanted to have the most solid rhythm section behind us. When these guys play, they really lock together a full sound that isn’t overpowering.”
Needham hopes the band helps fill the room.
“While I love playing with Rich solo, I’m excited to play with the band,” Needham said. “We’re hoping this moves us into a bigger sound.”
The duo’s ASCAP Music Cafe performance, meanwhile, will be at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1.
“The offer for the Music Cafe came in early December through Jonathan, who got us the Gypsy Kings tour,” Wyman said. “He called and said he got us the ASCAP Music Cafe gig at Sundance. Then he asked, ‘how long have you been trying to get that,’ and I said, ‘it’s been decades.’”
Wyman has been a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers since 1991. And while he has won 10 ASCAP songwriting awards, he hasn’t been asked to play the prestigious Music Cafe until this year.
“It’s so great that we’re finally going to perform there after all of these years,” he said.
The gig, like the one at the Access Film Music Showcase, will be performed with the band.
“It’s another step for us getting to perform for the people who need to hear us,” Needham said.
Two days after the ASCAP Music Cafe gig, Park88 will fly to New York to kick off a tour that will also take them through Connecticut and Vermont, before heading north to Montreal, Quebec to play the Access Film Music Festival at the Folk Alliance International Convention.
Park88 played Montreal on the Gypsy Kings tour and fell in love with the city, Needham said.
“I think Montreal will be a good connecting point for us, because Jonathan will also be at the festival and he asked Rich to speak,” she said.
“The Persian Version,” A feature film based on Maryam Keshavarz’s Iranian-American family, and “Kokomo City, a film that presents the stories following four Black transgender sex workers, were the darlings of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival awards ceremony Friday morning.
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