A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Nick Lowe, “Quality Street.” This unexpected Christmas album helped me through the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. It’s a nice mix of originals and a few covers from an underappreciated artist and class act.
“Treme.” I’ve watched this HBO series that chronicles post-Katrina New Orleans, which is in its final season and I’ll miss it. I’ve watched it religiously and learned a bunch about the city’s music, culture and struggles.
Billie Joe and Norah, “Foreverly.” It’s rare that an album crosses generations so effortlessly. The magic certainly happens on this lovely album of Everly Brothers covers from an unlikely duo of Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones.
Bill DeVille, 89.3 the Current DJ, Twin Cities
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“Saturday Night Live.” Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon make a hilarious tandem, whether doing music or comedy. Throw in Paul McCartney, Barry Gibb and Madonna and I was verklempt. Best “SNL” in ages.
Karrin Allyson, the Dakota. In front of several family members, the New York jazz thrush manifested a warm, effortlessly hip voice on jazz standards, holiday tunes (original and familiar) and some blues. She can swing, scat and croon with equal authority.
Beyoncé, “Beyoncé.” Was it a great marketing move or a little greedy making everyone buy all 14 songs? It’s easily her least produced and most street-sounding album. An outside producer could have helped edit the project, but she got everyone talking about her bold move and often exciting new music.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune