Melissa Jones of Minneapolis:
1 “Leonard Cohen: Tower of Song.” The PBS tribute concert had amazing performances by Sting (“Dance Me to the End of Love”) and k.d. lang (“Hallelujah”), but the biggest moment for me was the revelation that was Bettye LaVette singing “In My Secret Life.”
2 Joe Perry, “Sweetzerland Manifesto.” The latest CD from the Aerosmith guitarist’s solo gig features an all-star band including Terry Reid, Robin Zander and neuroscientist Rudy Tanzi, who, according to Perry, is the best Hammond B3 organist in the biz.
3 Moody Blues inducted into Rock Hall of Fame. A terrific honor and perfect timing to coincide with the 50th anniversary of their seminal concept LP, “Days of Future Passed.”
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Joyann Parker’s Patsy Cline show, Crooners. With a stellar band, she summoned the requisite sadness and richness.
2 Lisa Fischer, the Dakota. Another transcendent performance, as all the musicians of Grand Baton are now traveling on the same plane as the vocalist extraordinaire.
3 Ike Reilly, Icehouse. His May solo residency showcases his facile humor and his sharp, detailed songwriting.