The Music Café is a program produced by the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and which presents an intimate and dynamic showcase of live performances by emerging and established artists during the Sundance Film Festival. Located at the Stanfield Gallery on lower Main Street, the transformed gallery is an experientially appropriate setting for the sumptuous and poetic style of the artists performing there. This year the Sundance ASCAP Music Café featured such artists as Leann Rimes, The Fray, AM, Brendan Benson, Sonos and Grace Potter and The Nocturnals.
When I saw that Grace Potter and The Nocturnals were making an appearance at Sundance’s Music Café, a production by the ASCAP during the Film Festival, I jumped at the opportunity to go and listen to this voice which I had only ever heard in duet with other artists. I arrived at the venue with a friend who had seen the show the evening before and was so dazzled by the performance she forced us to quit work early for her second round and arrive in enough time to assure a good spot. It was no mistake as we were delightfully treated to the sultry voice of Holly Palmer, Joey and Rory– a husband and wife duo, and an eclectic Pop artist- AM before The Nocturnal’s blessed us with their presence…And I mean truly blessed us. Before the anticipated act began, I ran to the bathroom in a frantic hurry so as not to miss even a pluck of a guitar string, only to find Grace Potter standing right in front of me in the bathroom line. I looked around at the 3 other people in the room who were so busy glamming over their hair and makeup or talking on their phones that they didn’t even notice her distinct presence. I continued to stare at her in awe thinking about what I could say, but came up with nothing. The reality of the moment seemed fantastical and if you have ever been in the presence of someone of that stature, you know exactly what I mean. After my star struck bathroom experience, I made my way back to my spot in the crowd and anxiously awaited her entrance. If my age had prevented the opportunity for me to see the Rolling Stones live in their prime, Grace Potter made up for that unfortunate circumstance ten-fold. Not only was her comically pristine personality invigorating, but the audience began to ripple with energy and awe as this woman’s vocals seemed to be channeling the soulful style of Janis Joplin. Her performance resonated with me for the remainder of the evening as I continued to wonder whether or not I had just had a transcendental experience.
With four albums under their wings, we can only hope for more, and as the legendary blues singer Taj Mahal put it “ This is an amazing band! Keep your eyes on this one.”