Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Hal Davis of Minneapolis:
1 Jiselle McCollam. Her sultry recording of Melody Gardot’s “Your Heart Is as Black as Night” drew me to the vocalist’s monthly residency with her group, Jazz Cult, at the Black Dog Café in St. Paul. She draws songs from all over, including the Great American Songbook, Pokey LaFarge’s apocalyptic “Underground” and her own seductive “Stuck.”
2 Honky-Tonk Jump. Guitarist Dan Lowinger arrived in the Twin Cities from Portland, Ore., to form a western swing band. Buoyant disciples of Bob Wills and Spade Cooley, they put joy in your heart and a swing in your step.
3 King Wilkie’s Dream. The Minnesota band is named after Bill Monroe’s horse but this quartet goes way beyond bluegrass. Standouts include Tom T. Hall’s “How I Got to Memphis” and fiddler/vocalist Robbi Podrug’s jazzy version of Peggy Lee’s “It’s a Good Day.”
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Rolling Stone, “The Takeover.” Nearly the entire March issue is about “Women Shaping the Future,” with stories about musicians SZA, Megan Thee Stallion, Normani, Waxahatchee and Selena Gomez as well as politician Stacey Abrams, Hollywood powers Regina King and Natasha Lyonne, and athletes Kyra Condie and Brooke Raboutou. Significantly, almost every article was written by a woman.
2 Cyrille Aimée, the Dakota. In her Twin Cities debut, this French-born, New Orleans-based vocalist dazzled with her jazzy instincts, adventurous scatting, wide repertoire and uncommonly extroverted personality. What an unexpectedly refreshing treat.
3 “My Fair Lady,” the Orpheum. With her glorious voice, stellar diction and dramatic acumen, Shereen Ahmed as Eliza Doolittle lights up this period piece, filled with so many classic songs that sound fresher than the quaint Lerner and Loewe story. Loved the turntable set, as actors literally walk into the next scene.