Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
David Aquilina of Richfield:
1 Kiss the Tiger, Festival of the Valkyries. Singer Meghan Kreidler and guitarist Michael Anderson combined singing parts of four of the band’s songs interspersed with spoken-word segments. This livestreamed performance drove the intensity of the band’s live shows right through your computer screen.
2 Joyann Parker’s Gospel Brunch. You cannot go to church on Sunday, but Parker takes you there during her weekly Gospel Brunch livestream with guitarist Mark Lamoine. Parker shares her love of old-timey hymns and soul-stirring gospel. You will feel the love.
3 Mae Simpson Band, “Did You Make It Back.” Minnesota’s funkiest outfit since Sonny Knight and the Lakers, this band embraces soul, funk, blues-infused rock, New Orleans brass band grooves, and even some hip-hop. This seven-song EP proves that powerhouse singer Simpson is the real deal.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Randy Newman, “Stay Away.” His new pandemic love song mentions Venus in sweatpants, social distancing, washing hands, not touching your face and being kind to one another. Done in typical Newmanesque style set to rolling New Orleans-flavored piano, “Stay Away” shouldn’t be confused with his classic “Sail Away.”
2 “The People’s Soul Man” by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Rolling Stone. In his heartwarmingly sincere appreciation piece, the drummer/producer writes about his childhood love of Bill Withers’ music and how he tried to convince Withers to make a comeback album with him. “No” has never sounded so dignified and proud.
3 Waxahatchee, “Saint Cloud.” A delicate, enrichingly poetic folk/Americana album about balancing life and relationships during newfound sobriety. The title tune of this indie-rock hero’s fifth album refers to her father’s hometown in Florida.