What’s a festival without a soundtrack?

Shauna Farnell
Special to the DailyCary Brothers, whose song "Blue Eyes" appeared on the Grammy Award-winning "Garden State" soundtrack, is one of four up-and-coming musicians playing for the Vail Film Festival's Music Room.

VAIL – Dialogue, silence and sound effects can probably hold their own, but nothing makes a film like a soundtrack. Hollywood probably has as many up-and-coming musicians as it does actors, and the Hotel Cafe, a small venue tucked away in Los Angeles between Hollywood Boulevard and Selma Avenue that has become the unofficial hotspot for singer-songwriters who are on their way to stardom, will take a piece of its show on the road this weekend under the guise of the Music Room at the Vail Film Festival.

Hotel Cafe regular Cary Brothers, who became instantly recognizable after his song “Blue Eyes” appeared on Zach Braff’s Grammy Award-winning “Garden State” soundtrack, will play at the Red Lion today and Saturday along with Tom McRae, Joe Purdy and Josh Radin, all of whom have established themselves in part through their affiliation with the Hotel Cafe. “It’s growing and growing,” said Marko Shafer, CO-owner of the Hotel Cafe. “We do four different acts each week. I get 100 emails a day from people who want to play at the cafe. We’ve got so many regulars. It’s a very eclectic mix of artists and singer-songwriters and some upbeat rock stuff.”When asked how it happened that his cafe became the new “place to be” after opening just four years ago, Shafer was uncertain.

“It seems it’s going that way. We’re all surprised that it happened,” he said. “A lot of people get their starts here. They get heard. They get big. Then they come back every now and then and have to play unannounced shows because they’re too big.”Purdy has a song featured in the TV show, “Lost” and Radin has songs in “Scrubs” and “North Shore.” McRae’s popularity has been rising in his native England and he has won the Mercury Music Award. “When Joe’s song was in ‘Lost,’ it was the first song (from a Hotel Cafe regular) on a TV show,” Shafer said. “We had a little gathering for it. Everything was coming together. His song just fit so well with the mood of the show. The words and everything fit so well. Songs can really relate to what’s going on in a show, it helps a film as well. People are hungry for good music. You look at ‘Garden State,’ and I think everybody who knows music has that soundtrack. The soundtrack totally made the film. And it definitely helped Cary with exposure.”

Shafer took Brothers and a handful of Hotel Cafe artists to Austin, Texas, where they performed for the South by Southwest music and film festival. Vail Film Festival organizers selected Brothers, Purdy, McRae and Radin for its Music Room because they felt these artists would pair well with the film scene and possibly with filmmakers at the festival.”This is a good way to marry good music and film,” said festival CO-organizer Sean Cross. “The main goal of the music room was to get musicians whose music would fit well with film. Indie filmmakers have trouble finding good music for their soundtracks. Music is one of the main factors of a film that elicits emotion. Look at ‘Pulp Fiction.’ It works in every film – ‘Dead Man,’ ‘Jerry Maguire,’ ‘Closer’ … It’s definitely a goal to have these musicians and our filmmakers together. These are definitely up-and-comers.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or Colorado

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