Pick Six is a half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view.
Krista Vilinskis, music publicist, Bloomington:
1 "First Love Project." For a $25 subscription, you can support temporarily shuttered First Avenue and receive amazing music by Drive-By Truckers, Jeff Tweedy, the Hold Steady, Dessa, Atmosphere, Har Mar Superstar, Trampled by Turtles and others. It's a win win.
2 Various artists, "#MeTooMpls." Artists were asked to write and record a song on the subject of #MeToo. Some of Minnesota's finest, including Tina Schlieske, Chastity Brown, Sarah Morris, Mayda and Annie Mack, contributed meaningful songs, supporting sexual assault survivors and raising money for Planned Parenthood.
3 "The Beautiful Ones" by Prince. His memoir is a brilliant coming-of-age story in his own words, featuring never-seen-before photos and lyric sheets. You really get an in-depth look into Prince's childhood, laser focus and humor and come to understand how he became the shining star that he is.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
1 Highwomen win album of the year at Americana Music Awards. And deservedly so. The late 2019, self-titled record by this supergroup — Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby — was one of the best recent albums in any genre.
2 Smokey Robinson's Chanukah greetings. Via a hire-a-celebrity service, the Motown great recorded a video message for a woman who had once lived on his block in Detroit but pronounced it "Cha-noo-kah," saying he'd never heard of the holiday. After learning of his error (from her sons), he phoned the woman and apologized like a mentsch.
3 Prince and birds. A longtime fan from New Jersey has been posting photos daily of Prince in his distinctively colorful outfits juxtaposed with photos of various birds with similar coloring. A resourceful Purple aficionado but not a birder, Judi Feldman is at 150-some posts and counting. The pairings are uncanny. Follow her on Twitter @judi722.
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