A half dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Michael Bank of Minnetonka:
1 The Hanging Stars, "Hollow Heart." The fourth — and best — album by the U.K. cosmic country band. Hard to believe a group this great isn't known to all.
2 The Fernweh, "Pas Devant Les Enfants." Recent single from the Liverpool group's upcoming second album. Top tune. Another band that deserves way more ears.
3 Roger Miller, "Little Children Run and Play." Obscure 1968 B-side from the underappreciated country artist. Fantastic song. Amazing what you can find on YouTube.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Patti Smith, Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa. She was doubly amped for the occasion: the opening of the Bob Dylan Center and her first Tulsa appearance since 1978. Starting with an acoustic reading of Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather," she gave a transcendent performance of not only her own songs (loved "Free Money" and "Gloria") but two other Dylan nuggets, "Wicked Messenger" and "One Too Many Mornings." And she made profound pronouncements about the bard. A concert for the ages.
2 Agalisiga Mackey, Bob Dylan Center grand opening. Backed by his own acoustic guitar, a dobro, mandolin and harmonica, he delivered the Dylan classic "I Shall Be Released" in Cherokee, translated by his father. It's one of only three songs he does in Cherokee but he's studying the language. This 18-year-old has a bright future.
3 Leo Gillis II. At a late-night performance at the Lowdown club in Tulsa, he sat in with Dylan acolyte Jeff Slate and stole the night on "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" with his strong voice, commanding presence and dramatic performance. Turns out he's Jack White's older brother and now director of education at the Bob Dylan Center. For its ribbon-cutting ceremony, he wore a Hibbing T-shirt and a broad-brimmed hat like Dylan's on the cover of 1976's "Desire" album. Gillis has rock star panache. Must be in the DNA.