Jim Novak of Electric Fetus:
1 Public Service Broadcasting, “Every Valley.” A fascinating new concept album about early-20th-century coal mining in Britain — seriously. Cinematic, urgent and relevant.
2 Actual Wolf, “Faded Days.” Sun-bleached Americana conjures hazy echoes of sitting around the campfire with Gram Parsons, Stephen Stills and young Jackson Browne.
3 Cheap Trick, CHS Field. It might be almost 40 years since Budokan, but they still own the stage like it was just last week.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Peggy Lee tribute, the Guthrie. Four diverse and delightful singers (Nellie McKay, Catherine Russell, Davina Lozier, Jonatha Brooke) teamed with the New Standards and narrator James Gavin for a terrific musical biography. A very special evening.
2 Roger McGuinn, the Pantages. The voice of the Byrds enthralled with back stories, deconstruction of his music and that signature Rickenbacker guitar.
3 Jimmy Webb, the Dakota. The legendary songwriter talked more about the business than his songwriting. He never explained why someone left the cake out in the rain, but he entertained with Glen Campbell stories, classic songs and ornate piano playing.