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Music Cafe makes its move

Jay Meehan, Record contributing writer

The ever-evolving Sundance ASCAP Music Café, that cool jewel of a sidebar to the annual Sundance Film Festival, is on the move again. Not philosophically, mind you, just out of the tent it occupied a year ago and up lower Main Street a short ways to the Stanfield Gallery.

As eclectic musically as the film festival selections are cinematically, the Music Café populates its menu with emerging and established talent in both solo and ensemble configurations while serving up to a half-dozen separate acts each afternoon. This year the Café will be open from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Jan. 29.

Any partial list of past performers boggles the mind, especially when considering the quite-intimate settings inhabited by the Music Café over the years – from upstairs in the Park City Elks Building, to the Star Bar, and now, following one year in the tent on the Town Lift plaza, to an actual art gallery a few steps away.

From the then-adolescent Nickel Creek to Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Daniel Lanois, Donovan, Mary Gauthier, John Hiatt, Tim O’Brien, John Doe, Patty Griffin, Johnny Lang, Rufus Wainwright, the Silversun Pickups, the Kings of Leon, Wyclef Jean, and Patti Smith, the muses, year after year, just keep on keeping on.

Currently celebrating their 12th anniversary producing the Music Café, ASCAP is once again following their longtime tradition of presenting a creative mix of performance artists associated with Festival films from that particular year while also including those of both the more legendary and cutting-edge persuasions.

The great thing about the performers I seem to remember most from past Music Cafés is that not only had I never caught their act previously, I had never even heard of them. A Stones’ lyric comes to mind: "You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need." Obviously, my relationship with the Music Café is faith based.

Take this year for instance. Not being the loftiest wedge in the bag, I’m only relatively hip to a few acts on the schedule, including, but not limited to, the somewhat reconfigured Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (I really do like her cool sophistication and smart lyrics but I’d be lying if I said the visual component doesn’t enter into it at some level).

Then there’s Brendan Benson, a founding member of The Raconteurs (along with Jack White) and a quite impressive songwriter on his own. The multiple-Grammy winning Leann Rimes is also on the schedule. Many locals first got on her bandwagon after her performance during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Also on tap are The Fray and Richard Marx.

Others lined up to take the stage are 2AM Club, Adrian Younge and the Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra, AM, Califone, Isobel Campbell, Carney, Danielia Cotton, Colin Devlin, John Forté, Joey+Rory, Sass Jordan, Holly Palmer & Dillon O’Brian, Mike Posner, The Rescues, k.s. Rhoads, Sam & Ruby, Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizon), Sonos, and Vedera.

Something new on this year’s schedule is a set featuring five edgy spoken-word artists performing riffs under the umbrella Brave New Voices Speak Green. Emerging from the Redford Center and Youth Speaks, the aim is to bring new voices into the environmental discussion while inspiring change through the attitudinal poetry of today’s youth.

Commenting on NPR’s Talk of the Nation in 2008, Film Festival founder Robert Redford elaborated: "Words are just words without action. But I think what we’re seeing here today with these poets is the beginning of action."

Another addition this year will be an avant-garde visual art exhibition curated by the gallery and featuring works by the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo), Brandon Boyd (Incubus), Peter Wentz (Fall Out Boy), Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes), Music Café alum Joseph Arthur, and pop-art icons Steve Kaufman and Peter Max.

And, although the initial impetus for the Music Café may well have been to provide an ambience wherein artists of music and film could meet and interact and wax creatively, what it has also become over the years is a place for aficionados of both genres to gravitate and, oftentimes over a beverage, locate the edge of each.

So the lesson here is to stop by the Music Café every time your schedule allows – you never know what you might be missing! The Sundance ASCAP Music Café is open to Festival Credential holders and the general public (21 and over) as space allows.

Music Café Schedule

Friday, Jan. 22 2:00 – 2:30: Sonos 2:40 – 3:10: Colin Devlin 3:20 – 3:50: John Forté 4:00 – 4:30: Adrian Younge & The Black Dynamite Orchestra 4:40 – 5:10: Brendan Benson 5:20 – 6:05: The Fray

Saturday, Jan. 23 2:00 – 2:30: Sonos 2:40 – 3:10: Colin Devlin 3:20 – 3:50: Sass Jordan 4:00 – 4:30: Adrian Younge & The Black Dynamite Orchestra 4:40 – 5:10: Brendan Benson 5:20 – 6:05: The Fray

Sunday, Jan. 24 2:00 – 2:30: 2AM Club 2:40 – 3:10: Sass Jordan 3:20 – 3:50: John Forté 4:00 – 4:30: Matt Scannell 4:40 – 5:25: Richard Marx

Monday, Jan. 25 2:00 – 2:30: k.s. Rhoads 2:40 – 3:10: Danielia Cotton 3:20 – 3:50: 2AM Club 4:00 – 4:45: Richard Marx & Matt Scannell 4:55 – 5:40: LeAnn Rimes

Tuesday, Jan. 26 2:00 – 2:30: Danielia Cotton 2:40 – 3:10: k.s. Rhoads 3:20 – 3:50: The Rescues 4:00 – 4:30: Vedera 4:40 – 5:10: Carney

Wednesday, Jan. 27 2:00 – 2:30: Sam & Ruby 2:40 – 3:10: Mike Posner 3:20 – 3:50: The Rescues 4:00 – 4:30: Isobel Campbell 4:40 – 5:10: Califone

Thursday, Jan. 28 2:00 – 2:30: Youth Speaks 2:40 – 3:10: Joey+Rory 3:20 – 3:50: AM 4:00 – 4:30: Carney 4:40 – 5:10: Mike Posner 5:20 – 6:05: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

Friday, Jan. 29 2:00 – 2:30: Holly Palmer & Dillon O’Brian 2:40 – 3:10: Joey+Rory 3:20 – 3:50: AM 4:00 – 4:30: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals


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