A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
"Good 'n' Country," 3 to 5 p.m. Saturdays, KFAI. The finest country music played each and every week by Ken Hippler -- everything from the great oldies of our past to the best current country music. The more I listen, the more I realize how deep country music is, and that it really is the heart and soul of our country, the USA.
Lavender Diamond, "Incorruptible Heart." This L.A. indie folk-pop quartet's Becky Stark delivers sweet, winsome, romantic vocals, has great stage presence and loves a good prom dress.
YouTube: Prince at Madison Square Garden, 2011, with Cee-Lo Green. They do "Crazy," with Green on vocals and Prince ruling on guitar. A performance for the ages.
WENDY GASKILL, MINNEAPOLIS
The Wallflowers, First Avenue. Thanks to new drummer Jack Irons, the reunited and revamped L.A. rockers have never sounded so crackling and crisp. Irons found the groove, Stuart Mathis expressed himself with his versatile guitar work and singer Jakob Dylan found renewed passion. Mission rebooted, indeed.
Meat Loaf, Mystic Lake. Limping around on bad knees, the veteran belted his "Bat Out of Hell" classics with the bombastic bravura of an opera star and the sweaty passion of a rock hero. After all these years, Meat Loaf remains a first-rate ham and irrepressible crowd-pleaser.
Taylor Swift's "Red" sells 1.2 million copies. Albums are not dead and neither is the CD business. It doesn't make sense but marketing depth to teen girls works. Sometimes. Kinda.
JON BREAM, STAR TRIBUNE