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Musicians looking for big break play in Vail

Michael Liss
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySinger/songwriter Cary Brothers returns to Vail, Colorado this week for the Vail Film Festival.
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VAIL, Colorado “-A merry band of musicians from Hollywood’s acclaimed Hotel Cafe, branded by the L.A. Times as a “career launching pad,” will once again perform at the Vail Film Festival Music Cafe in Vail, Colorado Friday and Saturday. Cary Brothers, Laura Jansen, Buddy and Holly Conlan are playing sets this afternoon and on Saturday afternoon, as well as a special concert tonight.

Brothers, best known for his single “Blue Eyes” from the “Garden State” movie soundtrack, said playing the Vail Film Festival each year is “a real treat, and the gorgeous setting doesn’t hurt one bit.”

“It’s always fun to blend the worlds of film and music, which are now more closely connected than ever before,” Brothers said. “I always felt more closely connected to indie filmmakers than to major label musicians.”



Acoustic indie musician Buddy will be returning to Vail for the fourth year in a row, he said.

“I like the town and the spirit of the festival. Lots of creatively interesting people all converging on one town breeds a great artistic energy that fun to engage in and be a part of,” he said.



As the music industry grapples with declining album sales, more musicians are finding visibility in film and on television, an area in which several Hotel Cafe musicians find success. Brothers music has shown up on Scrubs and ER. Brothers and Buddy have both been featured on Smallville, One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy, which has included other Hotel Cafe artists as well.

Each appearance helps push the individual artist’s albums as well as the frequent group Hotel Cafe tours. “Film and television are like the new radio,” Brothers said. “One of these young filmmakers here might give one of us a big break.”

Brothers writes his music using a similar three-act storytelling structure as filmmakers.



“A lot of my music has the arc that a director might need to push the intention of the scene.”

The trick, he said, is moving the story forward without overdoing it.

“You want a degree of subtlety when getting an emotion across, but the right melody can help give a scene just the little extra feeling it needs,” he said.

One of the attractions of playing at the Vail Film Festival for the Hotel Cafe musicians is the sense of belonging to “a bigger creative community,” something they’ve strived to create in L.A.

“We’ve managed to put together a family of musicians that all support each other unconditionally,” he said. “Careers will rise and fall, but it’s nice to know that we have a home base like the Hotel Cafe no matter what.”

He embraces that same vibe at the film festival. “When I see a room of filmmakers all hustling to make sure their movie is seen, it’s the same feeling I had when I released music for the first time. It feels like you against the world, so it’s comforting to have people around you who understand your plight,” he said.


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