Hal Davis of Minneapolis:
1 “Marie and Rosetta,” Park Square Theatre. Sister Rosetta Tharpe — the gospel shouter and “godmother of rock ’n’ roll” whose crackling guitar influenced Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash — got a rousing portrayal by Jamecia Bennett (with Michael May on guitar) in an electric performance of George Brandt’s play with music.
2 “Envy,” Joyann Parker. She has a Patsy Cline tribute show and, with her own blues band, echoes Janis Joplin. But Parker sounds best as herself. “Envy” captures the agony of sharing a lover: “Does her soul burn when she hears you sing? Does she feel her body ache when you leave?”
3 Amy Rigby, Minneapolis house concert. The queen of mod angst sang “Bob,” a thank you to a mentor: “He taught me about Lou Reed/And the key of E.” The most fun: “Keep It to Yourself,” a sly, delicious ex-lover revenge fantasy.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Chance the Rapper apologizes for working with R. Kelly in 2015. After Lifetime’s airing of “Surviving R. Kelly” discussing the singer’s alleged abuse of women, and an article in Rolling Stone, Chance tweeted in part: “Any of us who ever ignored the R Kelly stories, or ever believed he was being setup/attacked by the system (as black men often are) were doing so at the detriment of black women and girls. … I apologize to all of his survivors.”
2 City Pages music editor Keith Harris ranks all 39 albums that landed at No. 1 in Billboard in 2018. With the flair of rock-critic dean Robert Christgau, Harris completed this daunting task with dedication, wit and enthusiasm.
3 Let Lady Gaga portray Freddie Mercury on film. That’s what critic Wesley Morris proposed in the New York Times because she could truly channel the Queen star’s flamboyant stage manner. And she can act (see “A Star Is Born”).