Jim Joyce of Minneapolis:
1 Crooners. We recently caught a happy-hour performance by the velvety voiced Charmin Michelle in this warmly lit 1960s-styled bar and lounge in Fridley. We’ll return to check out one of the daily jazz or blues performers on the main stage in the 200-capacity lounge. Or enjoy dinner and music in the 80-seat Dunsmore Room.
2 “Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock & Roll” by Marc Dolan. This in-depth companion to the Boss’ recent memoir captures the tensions, troubles and triumphs of his journey from small-town New Jersey dreamer to powerhouse arena performer.
3 “Hamilton’s America.” No tickets to “Hamilton”? In this PBS documentary, see how composer Lin-Manuel Miranda brought the inspired Tony-winning musical to life.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks, CMA Awards. Teaming up on Queen Bey’s “Daddy Lessons,” she proved that she’s just a down-home Texas gal like the D-Chicks, who mixed in a taste of their “Long Time Gone.”
2 Amos Lee, Northrop. The Philly acoustic soul man manifested more depth to his soulfulness. Props to his remarkably versatile band and to Lee for his Twin Cities shout-outs to the Basilica Block Party, Cities 97, Bunker’s, Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Prince and Nye’s.
3 St. Paul and the Broken Bones, First Avenue. With two albums of material, the horn-driven Alabama soul band demonstrated more range, while frontman Paul Janeway continues to be an unstoppably dynamic showman with a preternaturally soulful voice. Loved the Van Morrison cover “I’ve Been Working.”