Louisa Castner of Minneapolis:
1 Sérgio and Odair Assad, Schubert Club. The Brazilian brothers played guitar, joined by Israeli Avi Avital on mandolin. Passionate, expressive players all, they rocked the audience, from Bach to Bartók to Bittencourt.
2 “Indecent,” the Guthrie. Led by violinist Lisa Gutkin, the klezmer trio onstage for the entire play wove soulful Yiddish-inspired tunes in and out of the changing scenes.
3 “Dancing With Giants,” Illusion Theater. Tovah Feldshuh starred in her brother David’s world premiere. The cabaret scene became a family affair, with music by David’s son Noah, a member of the hit band X Ambassadors.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 k.d. lang, the State. Her sublime voice, quick humor and excellent band made for an extraordinary concert. Highlights: “Helpless” and “Hallelujah.”
2 Charles Lloyd and the Marvels, the Dakota. After a captivating instrumental set, Lucinda Williams joined in and thrilled on a heavenly version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel” and her own new potent gospelly blues “We’ve Come Too Far to Turn Around.”
3 Brandi Carlile, “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” Accompanied by a string quartet, she delivered “The Joke,” a poignant, moving new song about self-confidence and empowerment.