Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Jim Anderson of Minneapolis:
1 James McMurtry, the Dakota. This was my last live show before the music world shut down. He was playing solo, demonstrating his superior guitar skills, especially on the 12-string. He is an outstanding songwriter, as well. If this is my last concert for a while, it was a great one.
2 Country Westerns, "Country Westerns." Singer-guitarist Joey Plunkett of Nashville reminds me a bit of Lucero's Ben Nichols, without quite as much gravel. A satisfying guitar-based album with well written songs and solid playing. An ideal band for the Turf Club; I hope it can open again.
3 Bob Dylan, "Rough and Rowdy Ways." Seems like everyone loves the new Dylan album, and they should. I think he learned something from singing all of those Sinatra-era songs, his delivery is smooth (sort of) on the quieter songs. But he can still groan on the blues numbers. Now we can all hope for another record.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Keedron Bryant, "I Just Wanna Live." After George Floyd was killed, the 12-year-old sang this song (written by his mother, Johnetta Bryant) a cappella. The video went viral, and Warner Bros. has released a new version, produced by Dem Jointz, with understated instrumentation, incorporating elements of hip-hop, jazz and spirituals. Arresting.
2 Killer Mike interview, Rolling Stone. The Run the Jewels rapper talks about protest, presidential politics, police (his father was a cop) and RTJ's potent new album. He keeps it real — in conversation and on the mic.
3 Jeannette Bayardelle and Austin Scott, "Make You Feel My Love" video. They both appear in the raved-about Broadway musical "Girl From the North Country," featuring Bob Dylan songs. This piece is reimagined from the show. It's presented as a socially distanced duet, a piano ballad with each pining, gorgeous-voiced singer in a different bucolic setting, perfect for these pandemic times.