A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Led Zeppelin, Kennedy Center Honors. Jack Black's snarky speech. Dave Grohl's manic drumming. President Obama mouthing the words to "Whole Lotta Love." Heart's Ann Wilson and a gospel choir soaring on "Stairway to Heaven." A black-tie crowd rocking out to the sounds of a once-dangerous and often decadent band. What a trippy tribute as Robert Plant looked contemplative through it all.
Frank Ocean, "Wise Man." Written and recorded for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," the ballad was cut from the film and soundtrack. "Wise Man" sets spiritual, philosophical lyrics, delivered with heavenly soulfulness, to minimalist, slightly churchy music.
Duke Robillard to join Bob Dylan's band in 2013. No word on whom he's replacing. But the ace blues guitarist, known for his work with Roomful of Blues, played on Dylan's 1997 album "Time Out of Mind." Let's hope Dylan lets him play some lead guitar.
JON BREAM, STAR TRIBUNE
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J.D. McPherson, First Avenue. The boys from Oklahoma made First Avenue jump with their dance-inducing, fun-time rock 'n' roll.
"Crossfire Hurricane." Combining vintage footage and interviews, this HBO documentary on the Rolling Stones offers an inside look at the band's colorful history: drug use, the bad reputation, the pants-wetting teen girl fans, how Keith Richards and Mick Jagger write. Featured prominently are interviews with the Stones on the eve of the band's 50th anniversary, admitting that their memories aren't always clear. Bill Wyman says: "Why ruin a perfectly good story with the truth?"
Field Report, Turf Club. Unfortunately, one of the first things most people say about this band is that lead singer Chris Porterfield used to be in a band with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But these guys have enough chops to stand on their own. Mellow, folky and dreamy, the band filled the Turf with music that is quite simply lovely and at times funny, as well. They're going to be a big deal.
AMY JARRARD, MINNEAPOLIS