Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Jim Walsh of Minneapolis:
1 Nina Simone, “Sinnerman.” One episode in and I’m hooked on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” a ridiculously timely (and fun!) horror tale of freedom fighters battling monsters/racism. The stellar soundtrack is used as both subtext and subversion, epitomized by the prominent placing of this Simone track, which haunts like a coda to her classic “Strange Fruit.”
2 Eliza Blue, “Accidental Rancher,” southdakotamagazine.com. I’m slowly savoring these stories about country life as a way of living vicariously through this former Twin Cities songwriter/violinist, whose beautiful memoir of motherhood, green acres, isolation and farming is written with a lyrical grace that puts you in her place.
3 “Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love.” My pandemic screen time has been highlighted by music docs (“Creem,” “Suzie Q”), heartfelt Irish/British romcoms (“After Life,” “Normal People”) and this bittersweet story of Leonard Cohen and his lover, which doubles as a rumination on artistic inspiration and the elusive notion of muse.
Jon Bream of the Star Tribune:
1 Jason Peterson DeLaire and Dave Ellis, “Stand and Fight.” With sprightly Minneapolis Sound minimalism, the Twin Cities saxophonist/singer and his former Berklee College of Music classmate urge the people to celebrate and reclaim their power.
2 Dolly Parton mural, Nashville. Outside the 5 Spot music club, artist Kim Radford painted a mural of Dolly captioned with her priceless quote: “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”
3 Taylor Swift ships “Folklore” to indie record shops. Not only did she go for an indie-rock sound on her blockbuster with Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner, but the megastar unexpectedly supplied autographed copies this week to America’s indie record stores, including Electric Fetus and Down in the Valley. The Fetus sold all 30 CDs in 20 minutes.