Lori Barghini of My Talk 107.1 FM:
1 “Elvis Presley: The Searcher.” What an epic two-part documentary on HBO about the man who changed pop culture and music forever. Serious fans will absolutely love it, and casual fans will be stunned.
2 ACM Awards. Carrie Underwood’s powerhouse performance of “Cry Pretty,” Reba McEntire’s hosting and Miranda Lambert winning female vocalist of the year show how strong women are in country music. So why no females nominated for entertainer of the year?
3 Lineups announced for outdoor Minnesota concerts. The Basilica Block Party! Music in the Zoo! Rock the Garden! Twin Cities Jazz Festival! Outdoor music and dancing are right around the corner.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Kendrick Lamar receives a Pulitzer Prize for music. Usually this annual award goes to some classical composer; instead this rapper supreme became the first hip-hop artist to be recognized by these high-minded, typically highbrow judges.
2 Donna Grantis, the Dakota. In the least Purple event of unofficial Prince Week, the ex-3rdEyeGirl guitarist showed eye-opening vocabulary, range and depth, driving down eight lanes of the jazz-rock fusion superhighway in Hendrixian crosstown traffic. There was only a hint of Princely funk in this intense, sometimes gorgeous instrumental stew, but there were nods to Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Mahavishnu John McLaughlin and other guitar greats. Props to her musicians, including new drummer Jason Thomas of Snarky Puppy.
3 Crooners Lounge removes its main bar. That opens up so many great sightlines in this underappreciated music room in Fridley. Now all 225 clubgoers can see the stage, which has also been expanded. Smart renovations for a smartly run space featuring top-flight Twin Cities talent.