A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Regina Marie Williams, the Dakota. I was dazzled by her engaging sets, beautiful voice and warm rapport. A local treasure!
Cheyenne Elliott, Sugar Bar, New York. At Ashford & Simpson's club, I saw this 18-year-old emerging talent. She is Dionne Warwick's granddaughter and Whitney Houston's cousin. What a gene pool!
"Pippin," Music Box Theatre, New York. The winner of the Tony Award for best revival on Broadway is packed with extraordinary and varied talents. Pick up star Matthew James Thomas' CD.
Claudia Lawrence, Richfield
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Ian McLagan, the Belmore. In his Twin Cities solo debut at this newish downtown Minneapolis club, the former pianist for the Faces, Stones, Bonnie Raitt and Billy Bragg put on a perfect pub-rock show — the right combination of boozy storytelling (and name-dropping) and passionately performed heart-tugging piano ditties. Afterward, the ex-pat Brit hoisted a pint, hob-nobbed with fans and autographed copies of his memoir and CDs. He promised to return with his group, the Bump Band, from Austin, Texas.
Dawes, First Avenue. Coming across this time more like Gary Louris than Bruce Springsteen (as he did in the past), frontman Taylor Goldsmith led his quartet on a modern-day journey through Los Angeles' dark and twangy past, circa 1971. Yes, these are contemporary original tunes. A deep and wordy songwriter, Goldsmith also proved to be an eloquently expressive guitarist.
Willie Nelson models for John Varvatos. As part of the fall/winter 2013 campaign, the country legend and his sons Lukas, 24, and Micah, 23, have posed for print ads. The striking black-and-white shots were taken by star photographer Danny Clinch in Des Moines, no less. There's something both odd and becoming about Willie in a fancy white shirt and crisp sport coat.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune