Pick Six: Lowertown Blues Festival, Denny Laine, Jeremy Messersmith, Jamey Johnson, more

  • Updated: August 23, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Jamey Johnson

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A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:

Lowertown Blues Festival. Minneapolis’ loss (the former Famous Dave’s Blues Festival) is St. Paul’s gain as this free inaugural event in Mears Park featured a solid lineup, including Lamont Cranston, Sena Ehrhardt and Shemekia Copeland. A sure sign of success: They ran out of beer and food long before it was over.

Denny Laine, Midwest Music Museum. Charming and very accessible to fans, he offered a few Wings tunes and was joined by Joey Molland of Badfinger for a little Chuck Berry, a couple of Badfinger songs and Laine’s big Moody Blues hit, “Go Now.” A quintessentially British experience.

Old guys who still rock. Paul McCartney, Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart may be a little long in the tooth, but they filled their respective venues with their presence and talent, delivering shows that were very musically satisfying and highly entertaining. We should all rock so well for so long.

doug myren, Minneapolis

To contribute: popmusic@startribune.com

Jeremy Messersmith, “Late Show With David Letterman.” Despite his Buddy Holly glasses, the Minneapolis singer was totally Paul McCartney meets Brian Wilson, backed by nine players including a string quartet on the ambitious “Bubblin’.”

Jamey Johnson, Minnesota Zoo. A terrific songwriter in a traditionalist country style, he came across as a little Waylon, a little Willie and a lot of George Jones in a top-notch two-hour gig.

Willie Nelson photo by LeAnn Mueller, Rolling Stone. There are as many stories in those thick, weathered hands as there are in his songs.

Jon Bream, Star Tribune

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