Sundance is off and running, and the ASCAP Music Cafe helped usher it in with style its first day.
The scene at the Music Cafe was remarkably mellow on opening day, a far cry from last year when misguided fans of The Fray had a line going down the street for hours beforeI the piano-popsters took the stage.
Friday, I was able to roll right in for the first act, a girl/guy acoustic duo by the name of Madi Diaz (clearly, they're named after the lady in the group). Their set was pleasant enough, and drew some friends out of the woodwork; namely, The Civil Wars (pictured), another guy/gal duo who played an outstanding show in Salt Lake City Thursday night and who have two Music Cafe shows of their own later in the festival. Diaz kept mentioning she had a friend in the crowd who's smile was making her crack up, and that friend turned out to be The Civil Wars' Joy Williams. Small world.
Josh Ritter, the reason I was at the Music Cafe Friday, followed Madi Diaz with a great half-hour of his stellar songcraft, charming the crowd with between-song banter comparing his native Idaho with his new digs in New York City.
The Music Cafe often lets in the general public, if there's space permitting, so consider a stop if you make it to Park City. The remaining highlights for this year: Danko Jones on Saturday and Sunday, Guster on Tuesday, St. Vincent Wednesday and Thursday, and The Civil Wars Thursday and Friday.