Six cool things in music, from two points of view:

Kellie Pickler, Mystic Lake. The “American Idol” finalist turned “Dancing With the Stars” dynamo has become one of country’s most refreshing live acts. She sang her heart out and brought out Derek Hough to dance and hubby Kyle Jacobs to sing.

Nicholas David does “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” First Avenue. “The Voice” finalist took the U2 hit to a New Orleans church in an inspired and inspiring arrangement.

Tracy Morgan to host Billboard Music Awards. After seeing him pose on the cover of Billboard in a Taylor Swift T-shirt singing into a pink hairbrush, I can’t wait to see how he freaks out viewers and then disarms them by singing a classic hit.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune

Joshua Radin, the Dakota. His voice put me in a trance that made me want to close my eyes to soak it all in, but he’s so gorgeous, how could I? Joshua, thanks for sharing that you’ve been in love only once. I’d like to offer myself up as No. 2.

Bettye LaVette. She performs with a soulful grit that tells you she’s experienced pain in her life. Then I read her memoir “A Woman Like Me.” Yes, hardships, but the stories of her sexual escapades in the music industry are riveting.

Ruthie Foster. I’m still on a high after seeing her in January in Hopkins, and I’m off to hear her in Colorado. She is a “Phenomenal Woman,” and I’d travel the globe to see her do that song.
Sharon Kahler, Burnsville