Staff Directory 10644496

Jon Bream

Reporter and critic | Pop music
Phone: 612-673-1719

Jon Bream has been a music critic at the Star Tribune since 1975, making him the longest tenured pop critic at a U.S. daily newspaper. He has attended more than 8,000 concerts and written four books (on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan). Thus far, he has ignored readers’ suggestions that he take a music-appreciation class.

Bream has interviewed such music royalty as the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), the Queen of Soul (Aretha Franklin) and Prince as well as Bob Dylan, U2, three Beatles, four Rolling Stones and all of Maroon 5. He has performed with Alice Cooper, jogged with Willie Nelson and walked the streets of New York with Bruce Springsteen. A longtime voter for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bream has also written for the Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Vibe and other publications. He has a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota, where he established the Jon Bream Scholarship for Arts Criticism.
Recent content from Jon Bream
In an effort to make up for a faux pas, female performers and host Alicia Keys were added to the 2019 Grammy Awards. Keys returns this weekend to host

Ouster of the Grammys' first female boss taints a strong year for women

Despite a stellar list of women nominees, misconduct claim has tainted Sunday's show.
Cardi B performed for only 50 minutes when she played Target Center in July.

How short is too short for a concert? Twin Cities fans, promoters weigh in

Headliners should play for well over an hour — but it all depends on audience expectations.
Yola performed at the Fine Line early in her sold out show Wednesday night.

In Minneapolis debut, British singer Yola proves she's award-worthy

The Grammy-nominated newcomer impressed in her Twin Cities debut.
North Mississippi All-Stars, led by brothers Luther Dickinson (second from right) and Cody Dickinson (right), return to town Saturday at the Fine Line

Twin Cities concerts of the week: North Mississippi Allstars, Your Smith, Crystal Method, Dolly Parton tribute

The big gigs for Jan. 17-23, also including Jordan Davis, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Marielle Allschwang and Ron Pope.
Yola performed during the Americana Honors & Awards show in Nashville.

The road from homelessness to happiness brings British singer Yola to Minneapolis

British vocalist Yola has gone from homelessness to happiness — with an Americana album, no less.
Yola makes her Twin Cities debut Wednesday at the Fine Line after earning a best new artist nomination in the Grammys.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Yola, Nico Muhly with Pekka Kuusisto, Cash and Joplin tributes

The big gigs for Jan. 10-16, also including a benefit for the Cedar Ave. tower fire victims, G. Love, Peter Asher, Taylor McFerrin, the Mad Ripple Hootenanny and Atmosphere.
Jack Torrey and Page Burkum of the Cactus Blossoms are once again settling in for weekly Monday gig at the Turf Club in January, where Charlie Parr is

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Charlie Parr, Cactus Blossoms, Keith Sweat and Radio K residency

The big gigs for Jan. 3-9, also including Rachael Kilgour, Le Vent du Nord and the Whiskey's Funky Sweater party.
Soul Asylum (Winston Roye, Dave Pirner and Michael Bland are pictured.)credit: Soul Asylum

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Snowta festival, Soul Asylum, Cheap Trick, PaviElle

The big gigs for Dec. 27-Jan. 1, also including Heiruspecs, Anonymous Choir, Flipp and the Honeydogs.
The Jayhawks return to the Palace Theatre on Saturday fresh off recording a new album. From left: Tim O'Reagan, Karen Grotberg, Gary Louris and Mark P

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jayhawks, JD McPherson, the Bad Plus, Little Fevers

The big gigs for Dec. 20-26, also including Kinda Kinky, Mark Mallman's Peace on Earth, Paul Metsa's 40th anniversary, the BoDeans, Sara Evans and a Willie Walker tribute.
From left, siblings Fred, Jearlyn, Billy, Jevetta and J.D. Steele sang at Jevetta’s Golden Valley home.

In a Twin Cities living room, the Steeles cook up their 35th annual Christmas show

The Steeles' annual Christmas show is a family affair, brewed up in a Golden Valley living room.
"Gift box with sheet music wrapping paper, on a red background with plenty of copy space.The wrapping paper is a section of Beethoven's Symphony Numbe

20 gift ideas for the music lovers on your holiday list

Giving the gift of music can be tricky. We're here to help, with suggestions for music lovers of all ages and styles.
Duluth trio Low marks the 20th anniversary of its "Christmas" album Friday at the Fitzgerald Theater.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Holiday shows by Low, Blenders and Sounds of Blackness plus Brother Ali & D4

The big gigs for Dec. 13-19, also including the Joy Formidable, Alexander O'Neal and 311.
Katy Perry, who performed last weekend during the B96 Jingle Bash in Rosemont, Ill., stuck to her hits Monday at Jingle Ball.

Katy Perry, Camila Cabello sparkle at the Jingle Ball in St. Paul

  KDWB’s Jingle Ball can be viewed as an annual December parade of pop stars in one long teen-thrilling concert on a school night. Or…
FILE - In a Sunday, April 7, 2019 file photo, Reba McEntire arrives at the 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena,

Country star Reba McEntire announces spring concert at Xcel Energy Center

Tickets to see the three-time Grammy winner go on sale Friday.
Camila Cabello made her local headlining debut at the State Theatre in 2018 and returns Monday as part of Jingle Ball.

The best concerts in the Twin Cities this week: KDWB Jingle Ball, Deadmau5, Curtiss A's Lennon tribute

The big gigs for Dec. 6-12, including Blackalicious, J.S. Ondara, Nicholas David and holiday shows by Martina McBride, Sunny Sweeney, Katie McMahon and the Old 97's.
Plaid lads: Chan Poling, Steve Roehm and John Munson of the New Standards met up at the Sample Room in northeast Minneapolis before a rehearsal last w

Chan Poling rebounds from health issues for New Standards holiday show

After a health hiatus, Suburbs rocker Chan Poling is back in action with the New Standards and a pileup of projects.
Prince performing in 1982 at Met Center in Bloomington.

How '1999' made Prince a star: 'This album was the turning point'

An expanded reissue of Prince's breakthrough album shows how prolific he was in the early '80s.
Elvis Costello is back in town to play the State Theatre on Saturday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Elvis Costello, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Booker T., Ike Reilly

The big gigs for Nov. 22-28, also including Ronnie Milsap, Poliça, Anthony Hamilton, Bobby Rush, Nancy Harms and Leo Kottke's usual Thanksgiving week gig.
In this April file photo, Kris Kristofferson performs in concert at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pa.

Kris Kristofferson's unexpectedly excellent Minneapolis concert had a sense of farewell to it

Review: Kris Kristofferson's excellent 100-minute concert had a sense of farewell to it.
Lizzo performed at the Armory in Minneapolis.

This may be the Grammys' greatest rookie year, with Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X in the race

Newcomers will lead a strong field for best new artist when Grammy nominations are announced Wednesday.
Jerry Douglas joins hometown faves Pert Near Sandstone at First Ave on Saturday.

The best Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jesca Hoop, Novalima, Marc Cohn, Pert Near Sandstone

The big gigs for Nov. 15-21, also including Charlie Parr, Okee Dokee Brothers, King Diamond, Julia Jacklin and Blues Traveler.
Maren Morris

Rising star Maren Morris might bring bunch of CMA awards to Armory concert

Country-pop star Maren Morris may have a fresh bunch of awards in hand when she arrives in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Pat Hayes has been leading the Lamont Cranston Band for 50 years.

Leader of Minnesota's Lamont Cranston Band celebrates 50 years of the blues

Pat Hayes of the Lamont Cranston Band celebrates 50 years of the blues.
Angel Olsen plays First Avenue on Tuesday amid raves for her new orchestral album, "All Mirrors."

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Angel Olsen, FKA Twigs, Trisha Yearwood, Kris Kristofferson

The big gigs for Nov. 8-14, also including an all-star benefit at Hook & Ladder, a Neil Young birthday tribute, Bishop Briggs and more.
Country singer Alan Jackson performed at We Fest in 2007.

In Detroit Lakes, one-year hiatus for We Fest is 'a tug at the heartstrings'

New owner could make Detroit Lakes country music event "king of the mountain again."
"Scars to Your Beautiful" singer Alessia Cara opened for Shawn Mendes at Xcel Energy Center in June.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Celine Dion, Alessia Cara, Tyler Childers, Prairie Fire Lady Choir

This week's big gigs, also including Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tiffany Young, Janiva Magness and New Order's Peter Hook.
Prince at his Minneapolis home in April 1978, pictured in “The Beautiful Ones.”

Like Prince, his new memoir 'The Beautiful Ones' can't be pigeonholed

Filled with ephemera, photos and philosophy, "The Beautiful Ones" is incomplete yet revealing.
Dan Piepenbring had never written a book before Prince tapped him to write his memoir.

In brief time together, Prince made co-author believe he could do the 'impossible'

He'd never written a book before. But Dan Piepenbring carried on after Prince's death.
Bob Dylan played upright piano during his concert Oct. 24, 2019, at the Mankato Civic Center. As he offered tunes from all six decades of his recordin

Singing his best in decades, Bob Dylan seemed recharged in Mankato concert

With a revamped band, he was focused, impassioned and arguably singing at his best in decades.
Miranda Lambert in concert in Orlando in 2019.

Nashville 'wild card' Miranda Lambert brings an all-women lineup to St. Paul

Headed for St. Paul this weekend, country star Miranda Lambert lets her gut be her guide.
Explosions in the Sky (photo by Nick Simonite)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Fall Jazz Fest, Explosions in the Sky, Trey Anastasio

The big gigs for Oct. 18-24, also including Frank Turner, Ingrid Michaelson, Big K.R.I.T., Tom Morello and Mpls. Ltd. XX
Nancy Wilson, left, and Ann Wilson of Heart perform during the "Love Alive Tour" at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre on Thursday, July 11, 2019, in C

Heart and Joan Jett show the power of sisterhood in St. Paul concert

After a bizarre falling out, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson rocked in vintage form at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
A hologram of Roy Orbison performed “live” in Los Angeles with a band of backup musicians.

Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison in Minnesota? Hologram tours of old stars are the hot new concert trend

Buddy Holly is coming to town with Roy Orbison? Yes, rock 'n' roll holograms are here to stay.
Nancy Wilson (left) and Ann Wilson of Heart perform at 2012's MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit Concert in Los Angeles.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Heart/Joan Jett, Sara Bareilles, Charli XCX & Sleater-Kinney

The big gigs for Oct. 11-17, also including the Mavericks, Lucy Dacus, Tegan & Sara and Stiff Little Fingers.
Jade Bird performs during the Americana Honors & Awards show Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jade Bird, Aaron Neville, Stereolab & Lizzo

The big gigs for Oct. 4-10, also including Jon Pardi, Stereolab, Tech N9ne, Sam Fender and release parties by Dan Israel and MaLLy.

No joke, '80s stars Toto are back on top as they come to Minneapolis

Bound for Minneapolis, the 1980s hitmakers are having a pop culture resurgence thanks to "Africa."
Maggie Rogers, shown performing at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in April, sang to a sold-out crowd Thursday at the Armory.

Joyful star Maggie Rogers reaches a new high in Minneapolis

Newcomer gave an exuberant, captivating show at the Armory.
Nooky Jones

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Nick Cave, Clairo, Luke Combs, Nooky Jones

The big gigs for Sept. 27-Oct. 3, also including Bon Iver, Branford Marsalis, Martin Garrix, 4 Bitchin' Babes, the Waterboys and Temptations.
Scott Avett and Seth Avett of the Avett Brothers.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Avetts with Trampled, Ranky Tanky, Maggie Rogers, Post Malone

The big gigs for Sept. 20-26, also including Sophie Allison, Michael Feinstein, Avril Lavigne, Donna Grantis and the Melvins & Redd Kross.
The Jonas Brothers perform at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.

Minnesota fans are still a 'sucker' for the Jonas Brothers

The boy-band members proved themselves as grown-up pop stars.
Janet Jackson performed during her Metamorphosis residency in Las Vegas in May 2019.

In concert, Janet Jackson shows her love for Minneapolis

Review: Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis spark her winning concert at Treasure Island.
Janet Jackson performed her “Metamorphosis” show in Las Vegas, which she wrapped up a month ago. Now she’s back on the road and headed to Treasu

To Janet Jackson, Minneapolis will always be her 'home away from home'

Balancing motherhood and megahits, Janet Jackson talks about her return to Minnesota, where she recorded her breakthrough albums.
The technicolor dream boat that is the Jonas Brothers hits Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Jonas Brothers, Tycho, Vince Gill, K. Flay

The big gigs for Sept. 13-19, also including Nick Lowe, Of Monsters & Men, Brittany Howard, Lee "Scratch" Perry and release parties for Porcupine and Sean Anonymous.

Minnesota's 11 biggest contributions to country music

1 Dave Dudley of Spencer, Wis., records "Six Days on the Road" at Kay Bank Studios in Minneapolis. One of the first big truck-driving…

Sting gives private Ordway show to promote his upcoming play

Review: He'll return in April to star in "The Last Ship" about his hometown in England.
Thomas Rhett performed Saturday, May 5, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. ] AARON LAVINSKY • Review of co

Thomas Rhett brings country music's winning son-and-father act to St. Paul

With his pop-soul leanings, Rhett charmed young women, and his dad brought the beer.
Lead singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend rocked out early in the Who’s Friday night show at the Xcel Center.

Who are they? The Who rocks with an orchestra in St. Paul

It wasn't a bad idea, but the great British band lacked power and volume in its Xcel Energy Center show.
A.J. Haynes, center, and her band Searatones perform at 7th St. Entry on Friday.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: The Who, Massive Attack, Seratones, Lil' Wayne with Blink-182

The big gigs for Sept. 6-12, also including Lenny Kravitz, Thomas Rhett, Social Distortion and Static Panic's EP release party.
Roger Daltrey, left, and Pete Townshend of the Who will perform in St. Paul with a 52-piece orchestra. The two are working on an album of mostly new m

Headed to St. Paul with orchestra, Townshend says the Who is brand, not band

The guitar and songwriting legend talks "Tommy," Woodstock and the Who's next album.
Brandi Carlile performed to a packed grandstand Saturday at the Minnesota State Fair.

Brandi Carlile gets giddy at her great Minnesota State Fair concert

She seemed genuinely in awe at the response of the sell-out crowd in her biggest market.
Prince, shown at Coachella in 2008. The late rock star’s estate is planning “Paisley Park in Your Heart 2020,” an open-air exhibit with Prince a

Prince exhibit coming to the Minnesota State Fair next year

Superstar's estate planning site with artifacts, merchandise and nightly performances.
On the last night of his current North American tour, Lionel Richie was perhaps extra chatty Friday at the State Fair grandstand.

Lionel Richie is ham on a shtick at the Minnesota State Fair

He was chatty and comical in a sold-out hits-filled concert.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats perform Saturday at the Surly Brewery Field.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Tyler the Creator, Nathaniel Rateliff, Kesha and fair music galore

The big gigs for Aug. 30-Sept. 5, also including Lionel Richie, Tony! Toni! Toné!, Brandi Carlile and Dessa at the fair, plus Under Violet's release party, Squeeze, Jon Spencer, Eddie Palmieri and more.
Daryl Hall, left, and John Oates early in their set Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand.

Daryl Hall & John Oates finally land at State Fair

The grandstand was packed, but Hall's voice wasn't the guilty pleasure of the past.
Kia Clark, of Oakland, Calif., took photos Paisley Park during its Celebration in April. She was visiting for her second time with a group of friends

Prince's estate to assume management of Paisley Park this fall

Graceland Holdings — which operates Elvis Presley's Graceland mega-tourist attraction in Memphis — will no longer oversee Paisley as of Oct. 1.
Brian Setzer with drummer Slim Jim Phantom and bassist Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats early in their performance Sunday night at the Island Event Center

Refreshed Stray Cats rock this Minnesota casino on their reunion tour

With a new album and their first tour in 12 years, the MTV favorites thrilled.
Marc Anthony performed at the Minnesota State Fair in 2011.

10 great grandstand moments at the Minnesota State Fair

Video director Dale Kivimaki remembers 25 years of stellar shows and near-mishaps at the State Fair.
Mick Sterling, photographed in the Dunsmore Room at Crooner’s, often uses the stage to pitch his 30 Days Foundation, which funds urgent needs.

Minnesota rocker Mick Sterling pays bills to help people catch up financially

'Online bartender' Mick Sterling pays bills so people can catch up.
Darius Rucker, right, frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, sang along guitarist Mark Bryan at the State Fair on Thursday night.

Hootie, the bar band, blows up again at Minnesota State Fair

Twenty-five years later, the South Carolina group is bigger than ever.
Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish at a New York concert Aug. 10. The band, which last performed in Minnesota 11 years ago, will play Thursday a

'90s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish headed to Minnesota State Fair: 'We're back'

Reunited band is headed to the State Fair if not the Hall of Fame.
Lee Rocker, Brian Setzer and Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats bring their reunion tour to Treasure Island Casino on Sunday night.

Stray Cats strut into Minn. on a reunion buzz: 'Everybody loves it again'

Stray Cats reunite for 40th anniversary tour and first album in 26 years.
Los Lobos

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Los Lobos, Wild Waters Fest, Reba McEntire & Ringo Starr

The big gigs for Aug. 16-22, also including Dr. Dog & Shakey Graves, BoDeans, Stephen Marley and Jearlyn Steele.
Bob Dylan and Louie Kemp hanging out in 1972.

10 things we learned about Bob Dylan from his friend's book

Bob Dylan's story has been told many times, but not by someone who knew the international icon as just a northern Minnesota kid at heart.
Bob Dylan was the best man at Louie Kemp’s 1983 wedding in Duluth.

From summer camp to stardom, his friendship with Bob Dylan spanned 50 years

The life of Louie Kemp has been entwined with Bobby Zimmerman's since childhood.
Maurice Jacox, veteran Twin Cities singer-saxophonist who after 50 years on the scene has released the first album under his name in 2019.

One of Minnesota's most stylish singers gets 'Stripped Down' for his solo debut

After a wildly varied 50-year music career, Maurice Jacox releases a quiet solo debut.
Billy Ray Cyrus performed June 30, 2019, at the Glastonbury Festival in England. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Bayfront Blues, Billy Ray Cyrus, Gary Clark Jr.; Pizza Luce Block Party

The big gigs for Aug. 2-8, also including Queen, Lady Midnight, Kamasi Washington, Gladys Knight and Amanda Shires.
Bruce Hornsby played the piano as he jammed with his band while playing the amphitheater at Treasure Island Casino in 2017.

What do Bon Iver, Spike Lee & the Grateful Dead have in common? Piano man Bruce Hornsby

The "creatively restless" piano man brings his daring new music to Minneapolis on Friday.
At 86, Willie Nelson hasn’t lost his power to awe and charm an audience. He did it again Friday night in Minneapolis.

Willie Nelson's show at Target Center is brief but legendary

The country legend delighted his 9,000 fans, delivering 21 tunes in a mere 60 minutes.
Santana was having a fine time Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center. At times he almost seemed to forget there was an audience.

Santana brings the spirit of Woodstock to St. Paul

His show featured stellar guitar work, Doobie Brothers and a nod to Prince.
Producer Cameron Crowe and David Crosby promoted “David Crosby: Remember My Name” at the Sundance Film Festival.

A rock star's confessions to Cameron Crowe

The filmmaker got David Crosby to bare his soul for the camera.
Asked how it is that he is still alive at 77, David Crosby says, “I have no idea, man.”

Stellar new documentary gives an unvarnished picture of rock star David Crosby

Outstanding documentary paints an unflattering portrait of the rock star.
Wu-Tang Clan performed during Soundset 2018 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Twin Cities concerts of the week: Wu-Tang at X Games, Santana and more

The big gigs for Aug. 2-8, also including Davina & the Vagabonds' release party, John Mayer, Broken Social Scene, A Giant Dog, Steve Earle and Slash.
Tenacious D, featuring actor Jack Black, shown, and Kyle Gass, performed Tuesday night at the Palace Theatre in St. Paul.

Tenacious D shows off musical, comic chops in St. Paul

Jack Black's band rocks hard and delivers laughs at Palace Theatre.
Cardi B performed July 3 at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark.

Biggest concerts in the Twin Cities this week

The big gigs for July 26-Aug. 1, also including John Paul White, Jawbox, Bobby Lyle, Lord Huron, Conor Oberst, the Ocean Blue and a twofer of British rock vets.
Jeff Lynne, with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, performed Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

After a long absence, Jeff Lynne's ELO delivers magic at sold-out Xcel Center

British rocker revisited his orchestral hits of the '70s and '80s at the sold-out X.