Michael Myhra of St. Peter, Minn.
1 Tab Benoit, Mankato. The Louisiana blues guitarist/singer doesn’t just rake the leaves; he chews’em up! He had people at Hooligans Bar on their feet as well as the dance floor.
2 Bad Liquor Management, St. Peter. Always led by Josh Gravelin on bass and Kit Kildahl on guitar/vocals, this combo features various other members, but the result is always a fun night of rockin’ blues at Patrick’s Bar. This night featured Erik Koskinen on guitar, Mike Pengra on drums and Billy Steiner on harp.
3 Erik Koskinen, North Mankato. The NaKato Bar is not really designed for live music, but it does bring in quality roots bands traveling through the area. Koskinen packed the place on his Wednesday night residency.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” video. Thirteen years into her career and five years after buying a New York City condo, she shows her true colors, standing up for LGBTQ rights in a gay celebrity-filled, colorful-as-a-rainbow video about tolerance. Last year, she spoke up for specific political candidates; this month she sang at the gay landmark Stonewall Inn to try to shake it up. Way to use her voice.
2 Cecile McLorin Salvant, the Dakota. Seldom does an accompanist outshine a singer, but pianist Sullivan Fortner was more adventurous than magical singer Salvant whether on solos or accompaniment. She, too, was outstanding, treating songs like conversations with varying tempos, voices and emotions. An extraordinary evening by this duo.
3 Lizzo, MTV Movie and TV Awards. Even working with a slew of extra dancers, our homegirl owned it once again with “Juice.” She’s winning in so many settings.