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Music at Sundance: Blue Sky Riders, Greg Holden and Sea Wolf to highlight Music Café schedule

Published January 18, 2013 12:43 pm

Sundance Film Festival • Daytime music series to be supplemented with nightly series curated by L.A.'s KRCW.
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You might consider Kenny Loggins the King of the Movie Soundtrack.

And today at 4:15 p.m., Loggins' Blue Sky Riders trio will perform at the Sundance Film Festival's ASCAP Music Café.

You might recognize some of Loggins' credits: "I'm Alright" from "Caddyshack," the title song from "Footloose," and "Danger Zone" from "Top Gun.

But today Loggins and his bandmates Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr won't be playing any of Loggins' classic movie songs. Instead, they'll deliver an acoustic set the trio has written over the last few years that show a different side from the man that once cut footloose kicking off his Sunday shoes and rode a highway to the danger zone, shovin' into overdrive.

"I hit a place where I wanted new inspiration," said the 65-year-old Loggins, 65. "I didn't want to repeat myself or imitate myself."

The genesis for Blue Sky Riders came when Loggins got together with noted Nashville songwriter Gary Burr to write songs for Loggins' 2007 solo album, "How About Now." The pair regrouped to co-write the theme song for a TV pilot, and that's when Loggins realized that he wanted to be in a group again. Yet he knew intuitively that they would need a third voice.

Enter Georgia Middleman, who was dating Burr at the time. "Gary told me that Kenny wanted to start a band together," Middleman said. The group's first album, "Finally Home," will be released Jan. 29.

Greg Holden • Also performing at the Sundance Film Festival's ASCAP Music Café is Holden, whose name you might not immediately recognize. Holden co-wrote "Home," the largely acoustic debut single and coronation song from "American Idol" season 11 winner Phillip Phillips.

It has reached No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard singles chart and had the biggest digital sales week for any "Idol" winner's coronation song. It became the best selling of all "Idol" coronation songs — beating out Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

"'Home' was written about something personal in my life," Holden said. "It reminds me of someone I cared about that was going through a tough time."

The song was written with Drew Pearson, who has worked with numerous "American Idol" contestants over the years. It was Pearson's connections to the Fox-televised singing competition that led to the song being chosen for Phillips. "I never expected to be picked," Holden said. "It was winning the lottery."

While Holden, born in Scotland but raised in England, is proud of the song, he's more excited about jump-starting his own solo career. Now living in Brooklyn, Holden has Holden has toured throughout Europe and the United States as a headliner as well as opening for Ingrid Michaelson.

"I spent the whole time writing for other people," he said. "I'm trying to remember what is to write for myself."

Alex Brown Church • Church is better known as the leader of folk band Sea Wolf. He performed at Sundance Film Festival's ASCAP Music Café about a half-decade ago, and says he's happy to be returning to the snowy place that he remembers.

"We were there for one day," Church said. "We didn't see any movies. This time we'll have two days, [so we] hope to see some movies."

Church's most recent album is 2013's "Old World Romance," which he recorded, wrote and produced. "I feel like I had the confidence and experience to do it," he said. That experience came from Church's first-ever solo acoustic tour in 2010, after becoming accustomed to being accompanied by a five-piece band. "Playing by myself, all of the attention is on me," he said. "It really forced me to address my shyness."

Dave Berg • The Portland native will be promoting his own material at his Café performance, though he is best known in Nashville circles as a successful songwriter. His credits include the No. 1 country hits "Somebody" by Reba McEntire, "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" and "These Are My People" by Rodney Atkins, and "Moments" by Emerson Drive. He has also co-written singles for Keith Urban and Blake Shelton.

Berg will be performing acoustic material from "Not Quite So Alone," an album to be released at the end of January. Then he plans to head back to Nashville, writing songs for other people. "Nashville now is extraordinarily talented," he said. "It's an exciting place to be."

KCRW's ASCAP Music Café • The new nightly showcase will be curated by DJs from the Los Angeles radio station KCRW-FM. "I get the sense that [Sundance] wants to bloster their music offerings," said Jason Bentley, KRCW music director, adding that music has more emphasis at the Sundance London Film and Music Festival. Andrew Bird and Jenny Lewis are among performers slated for opening weekend performances.

Bentley and DJ Anne Litt will co-host live radio broadcasts from 3-6 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, and Sunday, January 20 at the Acura studio space inside the Park City Museum, with film and music notables lined up to drop by.

Highlights from the nighly showcases will air on KRCW's iconic "Morning Becomes Eclectic" during the second week of the festival.

The KCRW nighttime showcases and live broadcasts mark the first programming collaboration between the independent film festival and the public radio station. "They approached us, and they were like-minded," Bentley said. "We were cut from the same cloth."



Twitter: @davidburger —

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