SUNDANCE PART THREE: Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter Brett Young, UK’s Vintage Folk-Soul Artist Peter Molinari, Toronto Balladeer JP Saxe and More Wrap Up 2019’s Incredible Sundance ASCAP Music Café Program
By Erik Philbrook, ASCAP Editor-in-Chief • February 5, 2019
Brett Young, who won the 2018 ASCAP Country Songwriter-Artist of the Year Award and the 2018 Male Vocalist of the Year Award from the Academy of Country Music, headlined day eight of the Sundance ASCAP Music Café on Friday, February 1 in Park City, Utah.. Young performed his country music hits such as “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know” as well as new songs from his sophomore album, Ticket to L.A., including its first single, “Here Tonight.” The final day of the Café welcomed standing-room only audiences, who enjoyed dynamic performances from a wide array of singer-songwriters and bands. They included Park City’s own piano-rock group Park88, led by Lisa Needham and Rich Wyman, and vintage modern soul singer-songwriter Peter Molinari, who has been hailed by acclaimed artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Yoko Ono, The Black Keys and more. Return performances by NewSong Competition winner Mel Bryant & the Mercy Makers and Toronto soul balladeer JP Saxe capped a memorable eight days of outstanding performances as Sundance and ASCAP celebrated its 21-year partnership of celebrating the marriage of music and film at the heart of the film world’s ultimate gathering of original storytelling.
PART TWO: The Sundance ASCAP Music Café Heats Up with Grammy Award-winning, All-Female Mariachi Group Flor de Toloache, Nashville’s Lee Ann Womack, Deana Carter, Carlton Anderson and Jacob Davis and Brazil’s Seu Jorge and Jaques Morelenbaum from the film Abe
On days six and seven of the Sundance ASCAP Music Café, a very special writers-in-the-round set co-presented by ASCAP, the Academy of Country Music and the Bluebird Café brought a taste of Nashville to Sundance with unforgettable performances by Lee Ann Womack (nominated this year for two Grammys for her recent album The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone), the beloved and multi-platinum selling Deana Carter and emerging hit writers Carlton Anderson and Jacob Davis. Another memorable and mesmerizing performance on Wednesday, January 30, featured acclaimed Brazilian actor and singer-songwriter Seu Jorge along with fellow Brazilian musician Jaques Morelenbaum in support of this year’s Sundance film, Abe. Jorge stars in the film, for which Morelenbaum served as music supervisor. The film’s director, Fernando Grostein Andrade, was on hand to introduce their performance. The Oscar and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop performed some of his classic hits, including “On and On” and “It Might Be You,” the great theme from Tootsie. The excitement continued with second performances by Flor de Toloache, Neff-U and Priscilla Renea and debut appearances by this year’s NewSong Competition Winner Mel Bryant & The Mercy Makers as well as JP Saxe, an engaging, R&B-leaning and lyric-obsessed singer-songwriter from Toronto.
Earlier in the week, day four featured debut performances from Shim Moore, former lead singer of the alt-rock band Sick Puppies, who delivered an electrifying performance, and LELAND, who has contributed to some of pop music’s most influential and catchiest releases of the past few years, including songs for Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan, Charli XCX and many more.
The Music Café went south of the border on January 29 with a rousing performance from Latin Grammy Award winners Flor de Toloache, the all-female, New York-based mariachi group who lit up the stage with an array of progressive and traditional mariachi music. Another highlight of the day was the set by hit pop singer-songwriter Priscilla Renea and Grammy-winning songwriter-producer-composer Neff-U. The two created songs on the spot, giving the audience a look into their creative and collaborative process. They also performed songs from Renea’s acclaimed new album, Coloured. Also making his Café debut was singer-songwriter-musician Marcus Eaton, who is David Crosby’s longtime guitarist. Eaton scored this year’s Sundance documentary, David Crosby: Remember My Name, which was directed by his brother AJ Eaton in his feature directing debut.
Also on Tuesday night, January 29, ASCAP hosted its annual Sundance Composers and Filmmakers Reception at the Music Café and provided an excellent networking opportunity for this year’s creators and collaborators.
PART ONE: From Grammy Award Winners Everlast and Patty Griffin to Exciting Emerging Talents Patrick Martin and Herizen, the Sundance ASCAP Music Café Kicks Off a Week of Live Performances
The first weekend of the 21st annual Sundance ASCAP Music Café launched with a dynamic range of performances from some of today’s best emerging and established songwriters and performers. On Friday, January 25, The Dumes, a charismatic indie rock group whose members met initially at an ASCAP Collab Lab in LA, kicked off the festivities followed by Patrick Martin, a gifted young songwriter by way of Wisconsin with a signature voice and emotionally raw songs. Judith Owen, a singer-songwriter and pianist wowed the crowd with songs from her recent covers album, redisCOVERed. Then sister act Beulahbelle, featuring Kaitlyn and Mady Dever, blended gorgeous harmonies into heartfelt songs. Kaitlyn is also an actress and appears in this year’s Sundance film, Them That Follows, a feature in the US Dramatic Competition. Capping the day off was Grammy Award-winning hip-hop legend Everlast, best known for his former group House of Pain’s hit “Jump Around” as well as his solo hit “What It’s Like.”
On January 26, it was standing room only at the Café, as Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Patty Griffin performed songs from her forthcoming self-titled album. Griffin, who has been covered by a myriad of artists, including Emmylou Harris, Dixie Chicks, Joan Baez and Bette Midler, has one of the most powerful voices in music of any genre and powerfully raised the roof on the Café. Two other artists brought an international flavor. Dounia, raised in Queens & Morocco, performed an infectious mix of hip-hop and sultry R&B songs which overflowed with witty lyrics and edgy commefntary. Then there was Cuban-Jamaican singer, songwriter and actor Herizen. Best known for her role in Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series The Get Down, she just wrapped filming a USA series called Dare Me. At the Café, she projected a charming stage presence and performed soulfully radiant songs that warmed the hearts of the audience stepping in from the cold Sundance streets.
Day three featured another outstanding and diverse group of performers, from one of ASCAP’s leading Latin lights, Claudia Brant, whose new album, Sincera, has been nominated for a Best Latin Pop Album Grammy to Warbly Jets, an LA-based rock band who are gaining fans and industry buzz with their blistering rock songs; from MILCK, an inspiring singer who burst onto the national scene when her song, “Quiet,” became a breakout anthem for the Women’s March in 2017 to iDKHOW, a group who cleverly mix real instruments and electronic sounds and perform “day-glo” pop with joyful abandon and humor. A special guest performance from acclaimed singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg rounded out an unforgettable weekend of some of today’s most-gifted songwriters.