Pick Six: Pharrell's "Happy,” Sharon Jones' return, Fallon's Springsteen parody, Jody Hanks' CD, more

  • Updated: January 18, 2014 - 2:00 PM

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

Pharrell Williams, “Happy.” Mostly a producer, he has released a lively new clap-happy single that truly lives up to its title. Sounding like a mashup of Janelle Monáe and OutKast, the tune is on the soundtrack to “Despicable Me 2” and expected on Williams’ forthcoming second solo album.

Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen parody, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” Both dressed like the Boss circa 1984, they reworked “Born to Run” as “Gov. Christie’s Traffic Jam.” Their look was as hilarious as the lyrics. Best line: “The press conference went on and on/It was longer than one of my damn shows.”

Sharon Jones, npr.org interview. After postponing her tour and the release of her new album with the Dap-Kings because of cancer, she’s back, touring to promote her new CD. Her most inspiring comment: “Part of my healing process is to not try to hide the way I look, or stay away another eight or nine months until my hair grows back, or until I think I’m strong enough.”

Jon Bream, Star Tribune

“The Marty Stuart Show.” Playing on RFD-TV, this program is fascinating for its range of old-time country to contemporary, real country. The aptly named Fabulous Superlatives support Stuart, Connie Smith (his wife) and special guests from superstars to back-road honky tonkers against a mind-blowing set featuring religious iconography and patriotic shlock.

Jody Hanks, “Spirit Outside the Door.” A must-have Minneapolis album featuring the finest songwriting this former Raggs and Metro All Stars singer has delivered. “Blame It on the Hours” might be the best Lennon-McCartney ballad they didn’t write. A genuine find.

Dancing About Architecture and themortonreport.com. The former blog (www.daabar.com) is written by ex-music bizzer David Hersrud in Sturgis, S.D., whose vast music knowledge, good taste and crisp writing always satisfy. The latter blog regularly lives up to its billing, “Where popular culture meets swanky living,” and features the fun column “New Music for Old People” by Al Kooper.

Martin Keller, Mpls. writer

to contribute: popmusic@startribune.com

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