Backbeat: Dave Mason, Bleu, Paul Kelly at ASCAP's Sundance Lounge

Dave Mason, Bleu and Paul Kelly were among the established singer-songwriters who took the stage at the Sundance Film Festival's consistently packed ASCAP Music Lounge. Each of the artists showed up with a bit of a different agenda: Kelly performed half of his new album Spring and Fall; Mason was keen on reintroducing his catalog plus a few new tunes; while Bleu was testifying to the power of fan-funding.

For his fifth album, To Hell With You, former Aware recording artist Bleu has raised $47,000 via pledgemusic.com. His last album was funded through Kickstarter, with $10,000 pledged in first 10 hours and nearly $40,000 when it was finished.

"Having not done it, I was super nervous about it and then flabbergasted [by the results]," says Bleu, a former power-pop artist who half-jokingly calls his new music "Progtronica." "It changed my whole outlook on what I could do with my music and what it meant to me and to people, and what that relationship is all about."


L-R: Ryan Miller of Guster, ASCAP's Loretta Muñoz, Dave Mason and Kate Earl (Photo: Erik Philbrook)

Mason sang Traffic songs such as "40,000 Headman," "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "We Just Disagree" during his hourlong set on Jan. 22. He had spent the last month on an acoustic tour, the Sundance show being his last one before returning home. He figures he will resume touring with a band in the fall, but Sundance offered a chance to get his music heard by people in the film industry. Being in film, he said, "is one of the only ways to get your music heard. Other than Sirius XM there is no format for new music for artists like me, unfortunately."

He did write "Feelin' Alright," a hit for Joe Cocker that was most recently featured in the Denzel Washington film "Flight."

"That thing just keeps going and going," says Mason, who has five new songs posted on his website davemason.com/film. "The way Joe did it, thank God, is what garnered all these cover versions and what keeps it going movie after movie."

Movies became the subject of conversation after Mason's set, as ASCAP threw a party for composers that attracted the likes of Guster's Ryan Miller -- who has two films with his scores at Sundance -- Devotchka's Nick Urata, manager Stacey Peck, ASCAP's Michael Todd and Shawn LeMone, and composers Abel Korzeniowski, Blake Neely and Joel Goodman.

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